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SHOPTALK: Universities Graduating to Dot-Com Profits

A growing number of universities are attempting to enter the corporate-dominated distance learning market through venture startups and partnerships with technology companies. The University of Michigan Business School is the most recent addition to the group of educational institutions seeking to turn a profit through online courses, and is working with UK-based FT Knowledge to develop the technology to offer Web classes in executive education beginning this fall. Other schools launching online courses include Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Stanford University, Duke University, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Supporters of online teaching say it will allow students to engage in a fully interactive learning experience, save both universities and students money and time, and eliminate geographic barriers to receiving an education. Critics of distance learning fear it will cause universities to sacrifice the quality of their educational offerings in favor of generating revenue.
(, 15 March 2000)

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