The State of Open Universities in the Commonwealth: A Perspective on Performance, Competition and Innovation
The goal of this report is to critically examine one of the marvels of modern higher education: specialist open and distance learning (ODL) universities. These institutions, such as The Open University (UKOU), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the University of South Africa (UNISA), have pioneered radically innovative instructional and support methods, opening pathways for vast numbers of non-traditional students. In the second decade of the 21st century, how might the success of these institutions be judged? Most were founded 30–50+ years ago as public universities dedicated to ODL, in contrast to the experimentation by conventional universities that had characterised much prior ODL activity. These new institutions were charged with widening access to higher education amongst various non-traditional or under-served populations at a unit cost substantially below the norm for conventional institutions but with comparable academic quality.1 The core focus of the report is ODL universities in the Commonwealth, but examples from other countries are also considered. The report was commissioned by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). COL was founded in 1988 to further the wide range of ODL efforts established across the Commonwealth, with a strong emphasis on ODL as a force for development. At that time, ODL was largely identified with specialist public-sector universities (e.g., UKOU, UNISA) or with regional institutions that offered both conventional and ODL programming to expansive geographies where little other higher education was available (e.g., The University of the West Indies and The University of the South Pacific).
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The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC): Using Technology to Increase Access to Learning Opportunities in Small States Lesperance, John (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2011-09-30)25th AAOU Annual Conference, The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC): Using Technology to Increase Access to Learning Opportunities in Small states by John Lesperance, Education Specialist - ...
Leadership in Open and Distance Learning at the Namibia University of Science and Technology to Ensure Competitive Advantage and Optimum Benefits Mowes, Delvaline (Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Open University Malaysia (OUM), 2016-11)This paper reports on the changed nature of the role of universities in the 21st century. Specifically, the author argues that the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), while remaining a university of academic ...
The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Lesperance, John (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2012-08-30)When Ministers of Education met in 2000 to discuss the idea for having a VUSSC, achieving sustainable development was already a matter of concern hence it was included as one of the long term objectives for the VUSSC.//Although ...
Lived Experience of Developing a Blended Learning Academic Programme in a Traditionally Presential University Muyinda, Paul B; Siminyu, Samuel N; Aguti, Jessica N; Mayende, Godfrey; Nampijja, Dianah; Kajumbula, Richard; Mayanja, Jamiah; Ssebbowa, Dorothy K; Nabushawo, Harriet; Kabugo, David; Walimbwa, Michael; Mbulankende, Julius S; Turyakira, Nazarius; Isabwe, Ghislain M N (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2019-09)Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are presenting pedagogical affordances that are not only being embraced by open distance learning universities but also traditional presential universities. Presential ...
What is the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth? A Guide for Commonwealth Vice-Chancellors Daniel, John; West, Paul (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2008-11-29)In 2000, fearing that their countries would be left behind by the Internet revolution, the Ministers of Education of the Commonwealth's 32 small states decided to create the Virtual University for Small States of the ...