Oxford University has denied reports that it is going to offer degree courses over the Internet, but is planning to launch adult education modules online next year.
?Maybe sometime in the future students will be able to study for Oxford degrees and never step into one of the colleges, but it is definitely not our first step,? explained Jill Sanders, a representative for the university.
?The first online courses to certificate or diploma level will be aimed at adult learners and continuing professional development," she added.
The first adult learner courses, in local history and computing, are slated to go online next spring. These will be followed by courses for qualified professionals in software engineering and medicine.
The scheme is backed by Paul Allen, the US entrepreneur and co-founder of Microsoft, whose virtual education foundation is funding Oxford?s online initiative.
Oxford tutors will supervise the online studies using email, Internet discussions and voice based conferencing. Anyone can apply for a place on the courses, regardless of their location.
?The Net is global, our online courses will be as well,? said Sanders. Fees have yet to be fixed.
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