Are Universities aware of open-learning models?

“Open learning and new technology are about to smash the structure of the modern university – and higher education is too distracted by its funding problems to notice.

Peter Smith, the senior vice-president of academic strategies and development for private US firm Kaplan Higher Education, said online access to university courses would end the model of higher education based on “scarcity” of places.

“Faculty and people who run universities are no longer in control,” he told an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development conference in Paris last week.

Dr Smith, a former assistant director general for education at Unesco, the UN cultural and educational body, challenged the focus on the financial crisis at the event, titled Higher Education in a World Changed Utterly: Doing More with Less.

Given huge growth in access to information, Dr Smith argued, the real challenge facing universities is “doing more with more”. He added: “The only ‘less’ is the resources available to traditional universities to do what they have always done.”

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