HEFCE establishes HE Online Learning Task Force

HEFCE has established an Online Learning Task Force in summer 2009, with the aim of maintaining and developing the position of UK higher education as a world leader in online learning.

It is chaired by Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, who said: “I am delighted to be chairing this new task force exploring the increasingly important role of online learning. We are looking at how to meet the changing demands of students and employers, creating a flexible approach to learning and enabling the UK’s higher education sector to compete successfully in a global market.”

The task force will begin by looking at four key areas:

•The current level of online provision in the UK, including the types of institutions and courses where it is available, the proportion of online learning compared to other modes of learning in courses, and investigating what kind of students (for example, full-time, part-time, work-based) can study via online means.
•The international market for online learning, focusing on UK HE’s competitors, and considering how the UK may be able to attract a greater number of students.
•The level of demand from students – new and potential – for online learning provision in UK higher education institutions (HEIs).
•Student perceptions of online learning in UK HE.
The task force will also investigate costing models for online learning to support HEIs in developing this area of their learning and teaching.

The task force will meet between autumn 2009 and 2010, providing an interim report in April or May, and a final report around October.

The final report will provide advice and information on online provision in UK HE. Where appropriate, it will also make recommendations to universities and colleges, funders and employers on how to target investment to develop this type of provision, and keep pace with the changing learner landscape.

Terms of reference and membership can be found at:

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/learning/enhance/taskforce/

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