UK: Any student, any subject, anywhere

Mandy has been on a study trip to the Sistine chapel without going to Italy. Tina, while working as a full-time carer, has been taking a free university course in psychology on another continent. And Scott has recently secured a degree from an online university on the basis of learning, largely acquired at work. New web technologies are driving a revolution, not only in the way students consume and institutions deliver higher education, but in the very idea of what makes a university, writes Harriet Swain for The Guardian.

At its heart is a move to make universities' educational materials, from seminar notes to podcasts and videos of lectures, available free online. Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been doing this for nearly a decade. Almost 80% of its courses are now available free from its Opencourseware site. Others, from Oxford and Yale to local colleges, have followed suit. Thousands of hours of material are online for potential students, or educators looking for inspiration.

But the quantity of this material is set to increase dramatically over the next few months as governments wake up to the opportunities that "open educational resources" offer in the global marketplace. Setting out his new framework for higher education last week, Lord Mandelson said the challenge for the next decade was "to offer a wider range of new study opportunities - part-time, work-based, foundation degrees and studying at home - to a greater range of people" and that universities should seek partnerships with the private sector to provide online education abroad.
Full report on The Guardian site