First, a personal tribute Lord Weidenfeld: it is largely due to his enthusiasm that the seven Universities that so far form the Europaeum network are particularly concerned with borderless education, international co-operation in research and teaching and international exchange of students and professors. It is my firm belief that in the years to come, networks like the Europaeum will be even more necessary than they have been in the past.
New perspectives are opened to the Universities by e-learning. Information and communication technologies (ICT) have already firmly entered into fields considered incompatible with “computer” technology a few years ago, like photography. The leading and unifying factor is digital coding of information, which allows us to transfer, store, mix and manage the information produced at a source that is different but of the same nature; that is, computers. This is the phenomenon often referred to as multi-media. A further, and really revolutionary, offshoot has been produced by two events.
My topic is straightforward: strategies for exploiting the potential for new media, particularly for Open Universities. In Germany we have just started a two-year project to evaluate, develop and (hopefully) introduce a new Open University. Besides providing an excellent education, one of the goals of the project is to give German universities a competitive edge by learning how to make use of all the technological possibilities around us.
I come from Oxford Brookes, one of Britain’s new universities, in which discussions have been different from those in today’s sessions. We have less scope to consider some of the issues that have been focused on today. We have been asked deliver information technology, very rapidly, to support lifelong learning and professional development, rather than principally undergraduate and postgraduate work.
The discussion has been summarised to highlight key points. Every attempt has been made to reflect the spirit of the debate. Where it is helpful, contributors to the debate have been identified.