UNE and Pearson up the stakes in online learning

Published 16 November 2011

laptop_keyboardThe University of New England has joined forces with Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, in a significant boost to the university’s aspiration to be the nation’s highest quality provider of online courses.

The deal, which is the first of its kind in Australia, is aimed at increasing the number and quality of UNE’s online offerings, increasing student numbers and making significant inroads into the increasingly competitive online market.

UNE Vice-Chancellor Jim Barber said UNE is excited about being part of this bold and innovative arrangement with Pearson.

“UNE has a history of excellence in providing Distance Education and by working with Pearson, a global company with a great understanding of distance and online education services, we believe we can continue that proud tradition,” Professor Barber said.

“The deal aims to deliver an improved learning experience for students, an increased ability for UNE to meet the growing demand in online learning and a transformative response to the Commonwealth Government’s reform initiatives.

“Under the arrangement Pearson will convert a number of UNE courses to their Learning Management System LearningStudio, and provide an enhanced online educational experience. They will also broaden our market reach,” Professor Barber said.

“Importantly, UNE staff will continue to write all course material, teach all courses and retain all academic control,” Professor Barber said

UNE Chancellor Richard Torbay said with the combination of high quality offerings in an online environment and improved market access, he was confident UNE will have the tools to grow and succeed into the future.

Pearson Australia’s Chief Executive Officer David Barnett, said his company is delighted to be involved in this groundbreaking partnership.

“This is an exciting opportunity for both Pearson and UNE and is a great example of the immense power of technology to improve the learning experience.

“Pearson is known for offering best in class learning products and for over 15 years, we have also been creating many of the most successful online learning programs in the world. By utilising Pearson LearningStudio, UNE will be able to create an innovative online program that will provide a high quality student experience.

“The Pearson team is extremely proud to be part of this landmark deal and we look forward to playing a key role in the growth and development of UNE,” Mr Barnett said.

A number of courses will be offered under this arrangement across 2012.

Professor Barber said to assist in the online learning push UNE has appointed renowned e-learning expert Dr Michael Crock, as the new Pro-Vice Chancellor for Educational Innovation and Technology.

“This newly created position will provide strategic leadership and effective use of educational technologies. The expertise Dr Crock brings to this role will give UNE a competitive advantage over its on-line learning competitors.

Dr Crock is currently at Open Universities Australia and will commence in his new role at UNE in February 2012.

“Dr Crock’s appointment and the deal with Pearson underline the fact UNE is positioning itself as a leader in online learning,” Professor Barber said.