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Keynotes: CIT 1998

RAPIDLY EXPANDING INSTITUTIONS

Korean National Open University (KNOU)

KNOU was founded in 1972 as a cable TV station to provide education to Koreans. It is their Open University—somewhat analogous to our community colleges.

KNOU now serves 350,000 students. Not only are they a huge institution today, but they will continue growing. Now, they are capitalizing on their resource base. They are digitizing the 18 hours of video and audio programming they produce each day, storing these "lessons" in a digital library then integrating it into a web-browser accessible course shell (LearningSpace), and making education available at any time from anywhere. Although KNOU serves Korea today, their goal is to serve Koreans, worldwide.

You may not think of KNOU as a competitive threat. However, UCLA might. Approximately 30% of UCLA’s students are Korean. If these students could take courses from KNOU and shorten their time to graduation or have more flexibility, KNOU, indeed, might have an impact on UCLA’s student credit hours.

Monterrey Tech

Monterrey Tech is another institution that is expanding rapidly. They currently have 80,000 students at 27 campuses, and they expect to double their size by 2005. How? Distributed learning. They are transmitting courses into other Latin and South American countries today. They also have 2,500 courses available online using LearningSpace. Their goal is to convert 20% of their courses to LearningSpace each year, and, so far, they have exceeded that goal. Monterrey Tech is also an institution that excels at partnerships. Many of your institutions may have collaborative agreements with Monterrey Tech. Those collaborations are not just in the U.S. and Canada, either. And, they are accredited in the Southern Region. So, if you take a course from ITESM, you are taking a course from an accredited university.

British Open University

British Open University or The Open University is probably the best known distance learning institution in the world. Their goal is to become the world’s largest educational provider. They have recently incorporated in the state of Delaware and are currently seeking Middle States accreditation.

And, it won’t take long to "Americanize" their courses. They recently have affiliated themselves with the Western Governors University, as well. The Open University provides degree programs as well as non-credit courses—the kinds of learning modules that many adults seek.

 

GROWTH IN PROPRIETARY EDUCATION

It is not just the open universities that are growing. There is significant growth in proprietary education. Almost everyone has heard about the University of Phoenix, and many know about ITT, the DeVry Institute and other for-profit educational institutions.

A powerful proprietary educational model to pay attention to is that of Information Technology Institute (ITI). ITI was founded in Canada and specializes in IT training. Their primary customers are students who have graduated from Canadian universities but who do not have the skills to enter the IT industry. ITI provides an in-depth, 9-month program of study involving problem-based learning, collaboration, teamwork and adult learning theory.

Not only does ITI provide this education directly to students, but they also offer it through other institutions in an original equipment manufacturer model, or OEM. An OEM model that most are familiar with is Intel. Whether you have a Compaq computer, or one from Dell or IBM or Acer or any number of vendors, you have an Intel chip inside. Intel is the OEM—the original equipment manufacturer. Chances are that your disk drive came from IBM—IBM has a very large OEM business, as well.

As an OEM, ITI provides the curriculum and faculty for an MIS degree at Dalhousie University and at American InterContinental University. The degree you receive carries the Dalhousie or American InterContinental brand, but the education is from ITI.

 

STUDENTS ARE BECOMING MORE SELECTIVE

At the same time that there is change in the academy, there is change in students. Today’s college students are behaving differently than their previous counterparts, particularly in terms of being more selective. It is becoming fairly common for students to piece together an academic program from several institutions. They are choosing from a variety of educational providers—oftentimes based on convenience.

To make it easier for these "consumers" to shop around, many states have aggregated their distance learning courses in structures such as the California Virtual University. Although CVU does not offer degrees, it does provide a clearinghouse for courses from over 80 accredited colleges and universities in California.

There are similar ventures in Minnesota and Michigan. The Southern Regional Electronic Campus is an aggregation facilitated by The Southern Region Education Board (SREB). A group of eight community colleges—the Distance Learning Network—has banded together, as well. The list of aggregators continues to grow.

 

LINKAGE TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

These distance learning ventures are not just showing up on a state level. Perhaps even more powerful is the emergence of these distance learning consortia on an industry basis. Why? Because of their linkage to economic development.

A few years ago a study of the Michigan auto industry revealed that there would be a significant retirement bubble between now and 2003. Up to 250,000 people in the auto industry would retire. For Michigan to retain dominance in the auto industry—25% of the Michigan economy—there have to be trained and educated employees. The study recommended the creation of the Michigan Virtual Automotive College (MVAC). In its first few months of operation, MVAC has already delivered an impressive number of courses. However, its role has already shifted.

Rather than just providing courses, MVAC is now acting more as an industry consultant. The idea is for MVAC to take the initiative in telling its clients what their educational needs are. One survey, for example, asks engineers what skills they have, what skills they use and what skills they expect to need. If at some point the survey results indicate that engineers don’t know enough about pneumatics and feel they could do their jobs better if they did, MVAC can take that information to the auto companies, arrange to have courses prepared and get the program online. The goal is just-in-time delivery of skills and information. 

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