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Universities battling to capture the worldwide market

By Jennifer Sharples

As demand for cross border education continues to grow, successes and failure abound.

Following the 2003 demise of Fathom, an online venture between prestigious British and American universities offering over 2,000 online courses, recently the acclaimed AllLearn e-learning venture between Yale, Stanford and Oxford Universities collapsed.

Founded in 2001, despite offering 110 online courses from three of the world’s most prestigious universities to over 10,000 worldwide participants AllLearn failed to attract enough students to make the project viable.

AllLearn’s president S. Kristin Kim stated the cost of offering top-quality enrichment courses at affordable prices was unsustainable but added that each university would use the experience gained to improve their own online courses. Indeed, barely pausing for breath, the University of Oxford plans on launching a number of new courses over the next 12 months ranging from statistics for health researchers to northern Renaissance art.

When it comes to success, Britain’s flagship of distance learning, the indomitable Open University (OU) continues to blaze a trail.

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