In view of the discernible trends in Higher Education towards increased numbers, increased diversity and expectations of students, declining resources, increased competition between providers and increasingly irregular patterns of student attendance, there is a need to establish new ways of delivering and supporting teaching and learning. The convergence of different media into a single networked digital domain, and the rapidly expanding accessibility of such media, both driven by market forces, is tempting many HE institutions to develop an online presence. True ‘virtual universities’, i.e., completely online, are still the exception and there are strong reasons why traditional, face‐to‐face, universities should resist the pressure to develop a virtual alter ego. Nevertheless, online delivery and support of teaching and learning offers many potential benefits to students of such institutions, not least of which could be freedom from the constraints of conventional attendance patterns
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