Barriers to learning in distance education
Convergence of computing and communications technology, growth of the Web and modularisation of curricula have increased the potential for courses developed in one institution to be delivered to the students of others. This is now a global, growing, and increasingly competitive market with room for, potentially, few suppliers. Given a static budget, any loss of income to this 'distance learning' market will have a negative impact on existing educational institutions' ability to support the needs of all the communities they serve. This paper explores recent infrastructure developments in the UK Higher Education sector that enable increased bandwidth to be used to improve the flexibility and quality of education. It concludes that bandwidth may also be used as a barrier to global competition for resources, without sacrificing opportunities for achieving scale efficiencies.