Comparing online distance universities

Brasher, A.; Holmes, W. and Whitelock, D. (2017). Comparing online distance universities. In: EDULEARN17 Proceedings (Gómez Chova, L.; López Martínez, A. and Candel Torres, I. eds.), IATED, pp. 5411–5415.



Being able to compare effectively universities and their courses is of particular interest to a wide range of stakeholders – including potential students, policy makers, media organisations, funders, and universities themselves. There does exist a range of university ranking schemes (for example, the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities) that enable some level of comparison but these systems and the metrics that they use are sometimes limited and often controversial. In addition, of particular interest to the Open University, one of the world’s largest online universities, these widely-used ranking systems are designed for face-to-face teaching and learning universities, such that their metrics can be inappropriate for online distance universities. In our paper, we will discuss work that we have undertaken to date towards the establishment of a ranking system that includes indicators of the quality of online distance teaching and learning, to enable the effective comparison of online distance universities. The work reported was completed in the first 8 months of the EU Erasmus+ funded CODUR project with partners from Universitat Oberta De Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) and Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (Genova, Italy).

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