joins global group to plan long-distance education
Network for International Higher Education
By Matt Kelly
University is going global by moving into cyberspace.
21, an 18-school, international consortium of which U.Va.
is a member, is going into business with Thomson Learning to provide
degree programs over the Internet. The arrangement was announced
in a press conference at the Rotunda Wednesday.
consortium, which U.Va. joined in May, involves schools from Australia,
China, Singapore, New Zealand, Sweden, England and Scotland. U.Va.
and the University of Michigan are the only United States schools.
Vice President and
Provost Peter W. Low, who will continue to work with U21 after
returning to the Law faculty, said the new arrangement will allow
U.Va. to learn about distance education.
new corporation, U21Global, formed by the majority of consortium
schools and the Thomson Corp., will offer courses and award MBA
degrees over the World Wide Web. Low said U21Global plans to target
Asian audiences initially, providing English language instruction
at first, then adding Mandarin. Next the group will target South
America, with courses in Spanish.
would issue the degree, citing all the universities involved,
but Low stressed that U21 could not use U.Va.s name or logo,
or that of any other school, alone. Many specific details have
yet to be worked out.
which is owned 50 percent by Thomson and 50 percent by the consortium,
would hire its own teachers and develop its own curriculum. Oversight
and accreditation will be provided by U21Pedagogica, another corporation
to be formed and owned by the participating universities. U.Va.
T. Casteen III will be on the board of directors of U21Pedagogica,
which will approve all the courses and teachers credentials.
venture will cost $50 million, of which Thomson is contributing
half. The rest of the money comes from the participating schools,
with U.Va.s share set at $1 million, to be paid out over
three years. This is the Universitys only financial commitment
so far, Low said, and future expenditures will be examined individually.
principal benefit to the University will be to understand long-distance
learning from the ground up. Low believes that instruction over
the Internet will be a major wave of the future and this venture
gives the University an opportunity to catch that wave and have
access to the technology of distance learning.
will be dramatic successes [in this field], Low said while
acknowledging that some will fail as well. Thomson has the
capital, the drive and the know-how. I think this is the best
opportunity to participate.
University will have access to the technology of distance learning.
We have just joined a young organization, said Low.
Its just opened its doors.
the eventual benefits Low sees for U.Va. is student and faculty
exchanges with universities around the world.
want to be players, to learn how to do it well for the long-term,