Many universities are discussing the possibility of putting lectures, etc. openly online (most already do this through VLEs), but most are nervous about whether that will impact the number of students likely to come to physical universities, and are unsure how to capitalise on it:
Universities should not be afraid to put their course material online because wider exposure will improve their global standing, the head of Europe’s open courseware movement has argued.
Only a handful of UK higher education institutions – the University of Nottingham, The Open University and parts of the University of Oxford – have set up freely available educational collections since the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pioneered the idea in 2002.
But Anka Mulder, president of the OpenCourseWare Consortium Europe, said it was time for universities and nations to embrace the learning model and reap its rewards.
European universities have been reluctant to open up their resources to all comers. Of the consortium’s 260 members, only 53 are European (of which 35 are Spanish universities).
“We have the infrastructure and everyone is online, but it has just not taken off in Europe yet,” said Dr Mulder, secretary general of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.