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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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To inform the work of the Online Learning Task Force (OLTF), HEFCE commissioned the Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning team at the University of Oxford to carry out a study of the current UK provision of higher education-level online distance learning and to advise the OLTF where further work was required to increase understanding of this sector. This report presents the findings, based on desk research exploring the web-sites of HEIs, FECs and commercial providers, and interviews with key players in online learning.

The study highlights the difficulties in finding information about online courses on institutions' web-sites, and the lack of clarity in the terminology institutions use to describe their online programmes. It makes recommendations concerning terminology, discoverability, sharing of best practice and improving market intelligence, which are outlined in the executive summary.

Date: 1 October 2010

Ref: Independent research