Getting with the on-line programme: unis partner with private service providers

Online services can bring diverse and profound improvements to university education and China shows the way

Hamish Coates (ex Uni Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education), Lu Liu, Zhou Zhong, Liu Liu, Xi Hong, Xi Gao, all from Tsinghua Universityreport on the role of on-line programme management companies, commercial service providers that “re-engineer education resources and services and scale programme delivery” for client institutions.  Their new report points to estimates of 30-50 OPMS working with universities in the US, China, Australia, Europe, the UK and India.

Coates and colleagues present case studies of three Chinese universities use of OPMS, which they suggest show trends that will apply in China, and other markets.

* elite innovators: while continuing campus based, “will provide resources and capabilities for developing education ideas and technologies. They will use online platforms to augment, enrich and distribute traditional practice.”

* productivity innovators: will use online learning to scale provision, reduce costs and sustain quality

* scale innovators: will use online firms for services and content adapting standardised resources


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