Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE)
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Task force to help extend position of UK as world leader in online learning

An Online Learning Task Force has been set up to help the UK higher education (HE) sector maintain and extend its position as a world leader in online learning.

The task force, chaired by Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, will make recommendations to HEFCE and other relevant government agencies and institutions regarding the development of excellence in online learning.

It will begin by looking at four key areas: the current levels of online provision in the UK; the international market for online learning; levels of demand from new, and prospective, students; and perceptions of online learning in UK HE.

The task force will also investigate different business models for delivering online learning. This will help higher education institutions in planning this form of provision. It will meet over the next year, and will provide an interim report in the spring and a final report in October 2010.

Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said:

The task force intends to encourage debate and discussion on an increasingly important topic in higher education: how to maximise the potential of online learning and technology in order to satisfy the needs of students, education providers and employers.

'The evidence this group gathers, and its recommendations, will play a crucial role in extending the UK’s position as a world leader in online learning over the next few years. It will provide valuable guidance on how to target investment in order to keep pace with the ever changing learner landscape.'

Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, 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.'

Notes

More about the Online Learning Task Force

Task force members
Martin Bean Vice-Chancellor, Open University
Steve Beswick UK Director of Education, Microsoft
Dame Lynne Brindley (Chair) Chief Executive, British Library
Professor Philip Garrahan Pro Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University
Professor Caroline Gipps Vice-Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton
Richard Halkett Director of Strategy and Research, Cisco
Sharon Huttly Professor and Dean of Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Sir Alan Langlands Chief Executive, HEFCE
Sobroto Mozumdar President of Higher and Professional Education, Pearson Education Ltd
Mike Munn Director for Higher Education for UK and Ireland, Apple
Don Olcott Chief Executive, The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education
Professor Tim O'Shea Principal, Edinburgh University and Chair of JISC
Aaron Porter Vice-President (Higher Education), National Union of Students
Professor Gilly Salmon University of Leicester
Professor Rick Trainor Principal, Kings College London
Kevin Van-Cauter Higher Education Advisor, British Council
John Widdowson Principal, New College Durham
Martin Williams Director of Higher Education, BIS
Advisor
Judith Nichol Knowledge Partnerships Manager, BBC
Observers
Sean Mackney Deputy Chief Executive, Higher Education Academy
John McLaughlin BIS
Malcolm Read Executive Secretary, JISC
Secretariat
John Selby Director (Education and Participation), HEFCE
Gemma Cadogan Policy Adviser, HEFCE
Alan Palmer Policy Adviser, HEFCE

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation. It includes: books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages.

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