Thomson to Develop Global E-university Courses
Paul Hilts -- 12/4/00

Educational publisher Thomson Learning has announced an agreement with Universitas 21, a consortium of 18 universities in 10 countries, to develop distance-learning higher education and advanced training courses and materials to be delivered online. Under the agreement, which is still subject to due diligence review by both parties, Thomson Learning will be responsible for course design, testing and assessment, student database management and language translation, while Universitas 21 will award degrees and certificates to students who complete course requirements.

A statement from Thomson said that courses developed for the partnership will not be repackaged or repurposed materials, but "new curricula, courseware and delivery platforms designed specifically to deliver an effective e-learning experience. The courses will be delivered over the Internet, augmented by satellite television when necessary."

Bob Christie, president and CEO of Thomson Learning, said, "This agreement is further proof of Thomson Learning's commitment to growing our presence in the global electronic learning area." According to a recent Merrill Lynch study, the market for distance learning outside North America was estimated at $15 billion. Enrollments in all higher education worldwide are expected to reach 97 million by 2010.

Universitas 21 members include the University of Michigan, Canada's McGill University, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland; the National University of Singapore, the University of Hong Kong and Beijing University.