Online Tuition "not second-rate"

Dame Lynne Brindley aims to dispel myths and build on UK’s position. Rebecca Attwood writes

The idea that online learning is a “poor substitute” for campus provision is a myth, according to the head of the UK’s Online Learning Task Force.

In a time of hefty cuts to higher education, sceptics will argue that the government’s heightened interest in online learning is driven – at least in part – by a desire to cut costs.

But, in an interview with Times Higher Education, Dame Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library and chair of the task force, said the best examples of online learning were “not cheap alternatives” and required “deep consideration”.

The task force is “trying to dispel some of the myths that online learning is a second-rate alternative”, she said.

Meeting the changing demands of students – whether they are studying on campus, at a distance or via a combination of the two – is one of the group’s priorities.

But there are financial, as well as pedagogical, objectives.

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