12th June 2000

 

ACADEMIC HELPS FINLAND GO VIRTUAL

 

An expert in innovative learning methods is leading a national drive in Finland to create a ‘virtual’ university to help students from isolated regions access higher education.

 

Dr Terance Karran from the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside is chairman of a European group which encourages open and distance learning.

 

He has been brought in by Finnish authorities to help them develop their plans for the National Virtual University (NVU).

 

Finland is one of the largest European nations by area but has a population of just five million, with many people living hundreds of miles from the nearest town or city.

 

Dr Karran has just returned from Finland, where he spent two weeks presenting papers at universities on virtual learning, a pioneering concept used by students at the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside to access course information via the Internet.

 

Dr Karran is acting director of the Centre for Access and Lifelong Learning which developed virtual learning at ULH.

 

“In a country with such a sparsely distributed population access for all to higher education can be difficult to achieve,” said Dr Karran. “The web is an ideal vehicle for students in isolated areas to achieve a degree and the National Virtual University will bring them many more opportunities.”

 

During his whirlwind tour Dr Karran visited the University of Oulu, and Helsinki University of Technology. He also met with his colleagues on the NVU steering group at the Ministry of Education and flew down to the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona to present a paper at a teaching and learning conference.

 

In March Dr Karran was elected chairman of the Platform Group of the European Study Centres of EADTU (the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities).

 

Ends

 

Press Officer Sam Hendley. Tel: 01522 886042