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USBM - University Strategies and Business Models for Lifelong Learning in Higher Education - Project Card

USBM - University Strategies and Business Models for Lifelong Learning in Higher Education

EU Program
Lifelong Learning Programme
Duration of project
Scientific Leader
Prof. Maria Amata Garito


First Contracting partner
European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU)
Portuguese Open University
Open University (OU)
United Kingdom

Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL)

Spanish National University of Distance Education
University of Hagen
Anadolu University (AU)
International Telematic University UNINETTUNO
Swedish Agency for Networks and Cooperation in Higher Education (NSHU)

DAOU/Aarhus University

Catholic University of Leuven
Low Countries
Lund University
State educational institution of higher professional education "Moscow State University for Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI)"


Lifelong Learning (LLL) is about developing structures for continuing education that can fit the realities of professional life and help complete the knowledge that people acquire during their careers and renew or develop their existing knowledge. It is about all those phrases we use in speeches like "unlocking the knowledge of universities" and "making university education responsive to the needs of business". Although LLL is as a concept broadly supported and strongly recognised by universities, governments and the EU, it is still in the starting phase of actually being implemented. LLL is not yet organised sufficiently at most universities which can easily be explained when looking at their principle task and target groups. In general universities are bound to their conventional business models focussing on research and innovation and educational programming in the BA/MA structure. This is the right strategy for the target group of traditional students. Entering the field of the LLL-student means developing new strategies and business models and consequently entering a partly unknown area. This explains for the bigger part the hesitation of most universities to take the next step in organising LLL.

In the EADTU Task Force University Funding, TF USBM (University Strategies and Business Models) and TF Research in LLL we identified this lack of development in the field of LLL. On the other hand we clearly see that there are many European universities that already fulfil conditions for a successful implementation of these new approaches. Also, they have built comprehensive learning environments comprising interactive software and features for guided independent learning. However, they lack the right LLL policy, the right LLL strategies and the right business models for a scalable and sustainable approach. That is our focus.
Within this project we now will in a collaborative setting of Associations in distance education, conventional universities and distance teaching universities work towards institutional strategies and business models for LLL. We will make an inventory of current and intended strategies and breakthrough practices in education and training of each of the partners in order to improve each other"s strategies and business models in different national and institutional contexts . Hence, this will be the place where open and some prominent conventional universities transfer expertise at the managerial, the technological and the pedagogical level to improve their impact on LLL in their respective societies.

The consortium is therefore consisting of institutions at different stages in organising LLL. This to represent excellent models in LLL as well as stimulating further increase and enhancement of LLL. The TF USBM will as a core group guide the project progress on content and is responsible for producing dedicated reports on sectors and target groups for LLL, success factors of organising LLL and existing successful Business Models in LLL. These reports will reflect the analyses done and present the findings of crucial elements in organising LLL and be the basis for the new business models in relation to local university strategy building.
The EADTU Conference in September 2008 in Poitier (F), will be the occasion to publicly kick-off this project and disseminate the project intentions. Especially as the scope of the Poitier conference under the French EU-Presidency is ""Lifelong open and flexible learning in higher education: networked teaching and learning in a knowledge society". ( The occasion gives us the first opportunity to collect evidence, experience and practices related to the focus of the project, and is a preliminary opportunity of gathering and getting the interest of stakeholders concerned by the issues of the project. We will build further on this in dedicated WP"s on "Opportunities and obstacles for improved and increased LLL"and "Successful Institutional strategies".

The second year of the project will be fully focused on the local introduction. Based on our findings and identification of breakthrough experiments and business models we will develop institutional strategies on LLL and demonstrate these in local stakeholder meetings. At these meetings we will bring together members of our European core group and local stakeholders like universities, social partners, government and employers. Consortia and Associations for distance education will in this project operate in tandem with one of their member universities and demonstrate the added value of supporting their universities in LLL.
From the feedback and results of these local implementations we will fine-tune and finalise the business models for LLL. The final versions will be published as a Guide and roadmap and made freely available to the academic community as open source. This Guide, roadmap, reports and related links will be gathered in a portal dedicated to LLL.

The project will start to break down the paradox situation where the authorities and universities want to serve LLL, but are paralysed by the lack of sustainable strategies and business models, that will be part of the EHEA. We will promote and disseminate findings, reports and published business models as generic models via the portal as well as the EADTU network and several connected European networks of universities.


The LLP of the Commission clearly refers to Europe's future depending on the extent to which its citizens can face the economic and social challenges. A European area of lifelong learning will empower citizens to move freely between learning settings, jobs, regions and countries in pursuit of learning. Hence lifelong learning focuses on learning from pre-school education until after retirement ("from the cradle to the grave") and covers all forms of education (formal, informal or non-formal).
Successive European Councils after Feira have emphasised the need to implement coherent and comprehensive strategies. The 2001 communication [COM(2001) 678 set out the building blocks of such strategies in order to assist Member States and the other actors concerned. The transformation of traditional systems is the first step towards allowing everyone to access lifelong learning. Other building blocks have been identified in the light of the need to:

  • develop partnerships at all levels of public administration (national, regional and local) but also between suppliers of educational services (schools, universities, etc.) and civil society in the broad sense (businesses, social partners, local associations, etc.) ;
  • identify the needs of the learner and labour market in the context of the knowledge society (including for example the new information technologies);
  • identify adequate resources by encouraging an increase in public and private investment and new investment models;
  • make learning more accessible notably by multiplying local learning centres at the workplace and by facilitating learning on the job. Specific efforts are needed for persons who are particularly by exclusion, including the disabled, minorities and the rural community;
  • create a learning culture to motivate (potential) learners, to increase levels of participation and to demonstrate the need for learning at all ages;
  • put in place evaluation and quality control mechanisms. By the beginning of 2003 the Commission was to launch a prize for firms which invest in lifelong learning in order to award and draw attention to good practices in this area.

Lifelong learning has been adopted by most universities, governments and the EU as a main contributor to the development of the Community as an advanced knowledge-based society, with sustainable economic development, more and better jobs, greater social cohesion and support the realisation of a European area of lifelong learning. For universities this means a necessary shift towards an extended relation with students in continued education.

Europe now needs strong and creative universities as key actors in shaping the European knowledge society through their commitment to wide participation and lifelong learning. Universities commit to redoubling their efforts to introduce innovative teaching methods, to reorient curricula in a dialogue with employers and to take up the challenge of academic and professional education, lifelong learning and recognition of prior learning. Governments are urged to give universities the autonomy they need to introduce the agreed reforms. (Glasgow Declaration)

Although broadly supported and strongly recognised as a field for innovation at universities, the actual shift towards LLL is still to be taken. In general universities have not sufficiently organised activities in LLL
Reason for this backlog and hesitation in getting LLL really started most probably lies in the primary focus of universities on research and innovation and educational programming in the BA/MA structure. Organising LLL is a very demanding supplementary topic as this means for most universities to address new target groups, shift to new approaches and change their business models.

The EADTU TF University Strategies and Business Models recognised this deadlock of almost all underlining the LLL-policy, but only few actually (able to) living up to it.

The project USBM now intends to boost lifelong learning in a collaborative setting of DTU's and Associations of conventional universities.


The main aim of the project is to boost the organisation of LLL in universities by paving the way for actual changes in institutional strategies. We therefore need to involve and stimulate stakeholders (universities, governments, social partners, businesses) to seek progress in operating in LLL and show them the possibilities and opportunities of organising this.

Our objective is to develop university strategies and new business models of LLL on the European level in a collaborative setting of conventional universities and distance teaching universities. This will be the basis for starting the development of institutional strategies and new business models at the local university level. We will start from current best practice, innovative projects and strategies of the partners. This project will lead to greater awareness raising in the academic community for organising LLL and pave the way for actual changes in institutional strategies. We will present breakthrough experiments in LLL and create new business models for organising LLL. Locally we will organise meetings with universities, social partners, LLL students to engage them in debates and define mission statements as input for new business models.


The project team will organize:

- European meetings of the core group. Dedicated meetings on the following 4 subjects:
1. Sectors and target groups for LLL (WP2)
2. Success factors of organizing LLL (WP2)
3. a. Successful strategies and Business Models in LLL, (WP3)
b. Synergies between conventional universities and DTU's in organizing LLL (WP3)

These meetings focus on sharing expertise in these subjects and presenting each others strategies and business models in LLL, leading to more generic approaches for presentation in the consortium.

- European meetings of the consortium
These meetings are an extension of the core-group meetings.
The strategies and business models on LLL are discussed according to preparation of the core-group.
With the feedback from the consortium meetings, the core-group will write the reports and develop the strategies and business models.

- Stakeholder meetings
2 of the 3 consortium meetings will be extended by a stakeholder meeting. Invited are the EU, the EUA, the European Student Union, COL etc.

- Local events on strategies and new BM in participating universities (WP4)
Based on our findings and identification of breakthrough experiments and business models we will develop institutional strategies on LLL and present these in participating universities in dedicated local meetings. At these meetings we will bring together members of our European core group and local stakeholders.

The project team will produce 4 reports:

(1) A report on sectors and target groups for LLL (WP2)
(2) A report on success factors of organising LLL (WP2)
(3) A description of successful strategies and Business Models in LLL, (WP3)
(4) Models for cooperation and synergies between conventional universities and DTU's in organising LLL (WP3)

Reports description
As a starting documents for the local meetings we will develop a strategy document on developing European institutional strategies and business models. The strategies and business models included in this report consist of flexible to use building blocks to make local fine-tuning possible. WP4 starts with the publication of this document. All reports will be published on an on-line portal for organising LLL(WP4). This portal will contain relevant information for conventional universities and DTU"s on the subject of organising LLL. Next to the reports to be published by the project team, links will be included to best practices in LLL, reference material, policy reports, statistics etc. To support and encourage universities in organising LLL an open source Guide and roadmap on LLL(WP4) will be published and made available on the portal. Structured in a "decisions to make"and "steps to take"concept the Guide will support universities on the strategic and management level to face all challenges related to organising LLL. With the support and links in the portal all information is available to start and increase the LLL-performance of your university.

- Dissemination (WP5) EADTU will develop a dissemination plan based on the principles as worked out under WP5.

- Quality assurance (WP6) Internal and External evaluation reports will be produced as supplement to the progress and interim reports. Details are worked out under WP6.


Short term Target "groups:

As the project is about institutional strategies and new business models we address directly the management level of:
- Open and distance teaching universities
- Conventional universities
- Consortia and associations of conventional universities interested in organizing LLL.

Further we address Funding councils and the Rectors"conferences.

Being part of the consortium.
All partners will be involved in the analyses and development of strategies and new business models for LLL.

Being a member of EADTU
All members of EADTU will be informed on the progress of the project and the results achieved via regular mailings of Newsletters and network meetings. Reports will be included in the board meetings of EADTU to address directly all 26 rectors and directors.

The project results will be distributed during our annual conferences. Meaning that we address conventional and distance teaching universities specifically interested in lifelong open and flexible education.
European University Association members (EUA)
In cooperation with the EUA we will inform universities in organizing LLL European wide on the progress and results of this project. We will make eventually the portal and guide fully available to this target group.

European Student Union (ESU)
The ESU is as stakeholder always invited to our expert meetings. Again we expect great interest and constructive input from them.

Long term target groups:
LLL-students: students that are depending on easy accessible and highly flexible educational programs that fit their field of work and interest.
The core focus of this project is on the 25+ group. Because of demographical reasons and the disappointing participation rates in higher education in many countries, this is a matter of urgency. The need on the labour market can"t be met without addressing the potential of this group. The response of the European higher system to this issue is at present too weak.

University Management in search for strategies to organize LLL and new business models for addressing the LLL-student.

Program directors in search for a profile of the new LLL-student and related demand as well as business demand.

Employers, in need of general and more specific educational programs to keep their staff on the necessary knowledge level for competition and innovation.

LLL-students will be offered more and most importantly better fit programs via LLL when more universities adopt the LLL institutional strategies. Frontrunners have to valorize their expertise for the broader system, which is done in this project, relying on the open universities and some prominent conventional universities for a mutual transfer of expertise and further dissemination of recommendations and sustainable models.

University management will be offered the instruments and good practices for organizing LLL vi the project"s LLL-portal.

Program directors find information needed for anticipating the new LLL-market and tools to connect with businesses.

Employers benefit from educational programs available to their staff in LLL-schemes and find a partners in educational providers on the academic level.

The project outcomes will be kept available in an open source portal after the project. EADTU"s Task Force University Strategies and Business Models will continue to exist after the project is finalized and be responsible for updating and supplementing the site.
LLL is and will contain a main topic for EADTU in which we proceed to book results and publish new insights. We will use the LLL-portal to keep the HE-community informed.




The project consist of 6 workpackages:

Work-package 1 (WP1) Management
Work-package 2 (WP2) Opportunities and obstacles for organizing LL
Work-package 3 (WP3) Successful Istitutional strategies
Work-package 4 (WP4) Exploitation of results
Work-package 5 (WP5) Quality
Work-package 6 (WP6) Dissemination

Work-package 1 (WP1) Management

It will be a continuous activity in the course of the project. It comprehends coordination, communication, organisation and financial monitoring of the project. There are three major milestones that can be distinguished.
To settle management issues and set and fine-tune the tasks in the project, the consortium will start with a kick-off meeting.
This kick-off meeting underlines the goals and steps to take and formalises the roles of all participants. Each WP-leaders will present their approach, distribute tasks and announces the foreseen meetings, time schedule and foreseen results. Next, questions and practicalities will be discussed. All will than be formalised in a partner agreement with the coordinating body EADTU.

In the progress report and final report EADTU as coordinator will report on the progress, results, discrepancies and financial performance of the project.

Work-package 2 (WP2) Opportunities and obstacles for organizing LL

The consortium will start with WP2 opportunities and obstacles for improved and increased LLL. The consortium represents breakthrough experiments and BM's for LLL

The core group will guide the discussions and prepares the consortium meetings on the topics of:
- sectors and target groups for LLL (WP2)
- success factors of organising LLL (WP2)

We will have 2 dedicated meetings of the core-group extended by a consortium meeting in this WP2. With the discussion and feedback of the full consortium, the core group is responsible for delivering a report on each subject. The meeting on success factors will be extended by a meeting with stakeholders.(EU, EUA, ESU, COL, ..)

Work-package 3 (WP3) Successful Istitutional strategies

In WP3 Successful Institutional strategies the consortium will look closer into the translation of theory in practical models on the European level. These models must be flexible enough to be fine-tuned at the local level and therefore be applicable for in general every university. The core-group will deliver the end product of this WP3,
-a description of successful strategies and Business Models in LLL, (WP3)
-models for cooperation and synergies between conventional universities and DTU's in organising LLL (WP3)

The OUUK will lead this WP as the biggest and probably most experienced provider of LLL modules.

Work-package 4 (WP4) Exploitation of results

In the second year in WP4 Exploitation of results will focus fully on the local introduction. Based on our findings and identification of breakthrough experiments and business models we will first develop institutional strategies on LLL and demonstrate these then in participating universities in dedicated local meetings. At these meetings we will bring together members of our European core group and university staff at management level, local companies and social partners. Consortia and Associations for distance education will operate in tandem with their member university and demonstrate the added value of supporting their universities in LLL.

From the feedback and results of these local implementations we will fine-tune and finalise the institutional strategies and business models. The final versions will be published as a Guide and roadmap and made freely available to the academic community as open source. This Guide, roadmap and all reports and other links will be gathered in a portal dedicated to LLL.

Work-package 5 (WP5) Quality

The work programme of the project includes a plan of evaluation. This, to monitor and evaluate the progress towards the stated objectives within the project.

The project co-ordinator will monitor the progression of the project financially as well as on implementation. The project implementation and the project results will be evaluated by an internal evaluation team consisting of George Ubachs (EADTU), Carlos Reis (UAb) and Francesco Paravetti (UTIU)
The internal evaluators will meet 3 times: once to prepare the evaluation procedure and set the indicators, once for preparing the interim report and a last time for discussing the final report. Special focus will be given on inclusion of E-xcellence in the institutional frameworks.

Separately from the former procedure, an external evaluation will be organised by George Ubachs (EADTU) and Koen Delare of EDUSER as our external expert with specific competences in lifelong learning. EDUSER has for example a service contract with the European Commission (UNICA Network - Consortium Leader) for organising a training seminar on the topic of LLL for the Bologna Experts. EADTU will meet with the external evaluator on-line (flashmeeting) to discuss the evaluation procedure of the end products. The external expert will then deliver the evaluation in a written procedure at 3 stages.

  1. to the interim report on approach of developing the end-products
  2. feedback on the products in development
  3. final evaluation on end-products
Work-package 6 (WP6) Dissemination

EADTU uses a detailed promotion and publication plan for effectively informing and involving directly and indirectly concerned persons. The promotion and dissemination plan gives an overview of the activities that will support communication to raise awareness of and interest in the project. Categories of activities under this heading are
• Communication by partners; all partners are responsible for communicating the progress and outcomes of the project at relevant local, national and international meetings they are involved in and report to the coordinator of the project on these occasions, including responses received.
• Web-based communication; a web-based portal will be established and promoted by the EADTU secretariat and the partner organisations to inform a wide public on the developments of the project.
• Publications. Foreseen are a wide range of publications on the European level as well as in other continents. This by the EADTU partners in Europe and associate partners in the rest of the world.
• Mailings through extensive databases; one of the core-businesses of EADTU is to inform the HE community on new developments in HE and related EU subjects. EADTU uses for this purpose a database of some 7000 contacts in the HE community. If necessary, selected mailings can be made with regard to fields of interests Promotion: New university strategies will be promoted European wide as a website available for universities to find new business models, related services and good practices.

Broad promotional activities at European level by:

  • publications
  • web presentation at every partner"s website
  • web presentation on and similar websites
  • Conferences: European and world conferences will be used as promotion of the project and its results

Several conferences and events are foreseen as promotional opportunities for the project. Main events will be:

The annual EADTU Conference in September 2008 in Poitier (F), will be an excellent occasion to publicly
give a kick-off to this project and disseminate the project intentions. Especially as the scope of the Poitier
conference under the French EU-Presidency is ""Lifelong open and flexible learning in higher education: networked teaching and learning in a knowledge society". ( EADTU"s annual conferences attract some 25 countries each year.
The occasion gives us the first opportunity to collect evidence, experience and practices related to the focus of the project, and is a preliminary opportunity of gathering and getting the interest of stakeholders concerned by the issues of the project.
From 7-10 June 2009 EADTU will be the co-organiser of the Maastricht conference of the world organisation in distance education ICDE (International Council for Open and Distance Education). This will be an excellent occasion to promote the outcomes of the first year on this world platform of education. ICDE has members from 140 different countries in the world, representing all the continents. We expect some 1000 people attending our world conference in 2009.



  • About EADTU

The European Association of Distance Teaching Universities - EADTU - is the representative organisation of both Associations within higher education active in the field of distance education and e-learning, and open and distance Universities active in the field of lifelong open and flexible learning (LOF-learning). Members of EADTU are dedicated to serving off-campus target groups with open and flexible learning methods and systemic study guidance. EADTU"s Associations consist of university consortia with mainstream on-campus students, but also giving priority to offering education to off-campus students.

  • Statutory objectives of the applicant organisation

EADTU"s statutory objectives are:

  1. to promote higher distance education in European countries
  2. to support bilateral and multilateral contacts of the academic staff of the participating institutions
  3. to support cooperation in the field of research, course development, course transfer and credit transfer to develop new methods and techniques for higher distance education, including new technologies and media
  4. to organise common projects in these fields in cooperation with European authorities.

This is further updated in EADTU"s Mission Statement of 2006 as follows:
I. Further develop and implement the concept of Lifelong Open and Flexible (LOF) learning within the European Learning Space for distance Higher Education in the European knowledge society. This includes regular university courses as well as specialized continuing education.
II. Communicate on benefits and impact of LOF learning in distance HE within Europe as well as worldwide so that higher education institutions can benefit from this approach in their lifelong learning strategy.
III. Expand the use of LOF learning in distance HE in order to achieve a mainstream position and full coverage for the EU countries as well as substantial coverage for the EU neighbouring or partnering countries. Open and flexible learning for adults who combine work and study is a condition to upgrade the knowledge and skills level in the European countries where the participation rate in higher education is too low compared to the US.
IV. Contribute to policy for Lifelong Open and Flexible (LOF) learning in distance HE at the national and European level in cooperation with our national associations and other members.
V. Strengthen the profile and position of EADTU and its members as a niche association with a specific scope on lifelong learning and the development of knowledge and skills in the European knowledge society. As such it contributes to the policy of the European authorities (Parliament, Commission, Council) as well as to the community of European universities, i.e. EUA.
VI. Provide support and assistance according to the needs of the members. EADTU provides a platform for the members to share experience and to strengthen their tools and offers for lifelong open and flexible learning.

  • Specific areas of experience and expertise of the applicant organisation

EADTU is Europe"s leading and representative association for Lifelong Open and Flexible (LOF) learning in distance HE. It is committed to a path towards a true European Learning Space (ELS) in accordance with the Bologna Declaration and the Lisbon Strategy, through bilateral and multilateral cooperation between National Associations for LOF learning and LOF learning universities in distance HE. They share experience throughout Europe. In this Learning Space courses will be made available to students all over Europe between the members and cooperation at the staff level will be strengthened. In this broader framework areas of activity and expertise are: strategies and funding/business models for lifelong open and flexible learning at the institutional level, open educational resources (multilingual, content and learning modules), virtual mobility, quality benchmarking for e-learning and open and flexible learning, entrepreneurship through open and flexible learning (incl. virtual internships), the creation of sustainable learning environments (taking into account the life conditions of students combining work and study as well as the life environment as a whole), research of open and flexible learning (in cooperation with research institutes of the membership like the Knowledge Media Institute, the Institute of Educational Technology (UK), OTEC (NL), national policies and developments for open and flexible learning in different countries, especially also in the former Central and Eastern European countries. For many of these activities over the past 20 years, European projects were run (Education and Culture, Science and Research, Phare Multi-Country programme, etc) at LOF learning universities in distance HE and EADTU engages in interaction with representative European student member bodies and/or platforms whenever possible, so as to incorporate students"interests at best. EADTU will contribute to the development of the ELS by supporting and promoting state-of-the-art educational networks in the field of lifelong and flexible learning, virtual mobility, and quality assurance and accreditation. Developing and sustaining highly esteemed educational networks requires members to deliver a top performance in research and development. EADTU functions both as a portal and a platform for these activities.
EADTU represents and is regarded by the European Commission as a main spokesperson for the whole of Europe in LOF learning in distance HE. EADTU engages in EU Programme Consultations and EU-policy making with the objective of strengthening the political lead of EADTU in LOF learning within Europe. Consultation meetings with the European Commission are organised on the strategic and expert level with participation of EADTU members. EADTU formulates position papers or statements in areas such as building a mature knowledge-based society, widening participation in HE, further flexibilisation of the Bologna BA/MA structure and the organisation of flexible education, quality assurance and accreditation, e-learning and virtual mobility and lifelong learning. Student bodies and/or student unions, having policy on the Bologna and Lisbon process, are regarded by EADTU as important policy partners representing the student perspective for European nations.

  • Size and international site distribution of the organisation

EADTU consists of 26 members from 24 European countries. It covers some 200 Universities with in total over 2 million student.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / networks
The EADTU is the leader of WP1 Management, WP5 Quality and WP6 Dissemination. Further, EADTU is representing a broad European network for promotion and dissemination of the project results.


Universidade Aberta, pioneer in distance education in Portugal, was founded in 1988 and has been promoting actions related to higher education and continuous training. It has also contributed to the active dissemination of the Portuguese language and culture, especially in Portuguese speaking countries and communities.
Universidade Aberta is the main national centre of expertise, in the area of distance education, developing the know-how that allows it to be the biggest provider of on-line courses in the country.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
UAb will be the leader of WP2 Opportunities and obstacles for organising LLL. Further, UAb be a member of WP5 Quality and act as an internal evaluator of the project.
UAb will contribute by providing breakthrough experience, strategies in LLL and new business models.


The Open University (OU) is Europe"s largest Higher Education Institution. It offers high quality university level education to people based in all countries of the EU and through partnerships, in all continents of the world. The OU supports 5,500 students across continental Western Europe and has a network of 13 country coordinators in major cities across Europe. Through open and distance learning the OU is able to reach people who would otherwise find it difficult to study and train further, but increasingly is teaching younger students who can no longer study at traditional universities, and prefer to combine work with their studies. The flexibility of the Supported Open Learning programme has also encouraged increasing participation from disabled and minority groups. The OU"s mission is to be "open to people, places, methods and ideas", and has an established Equal Opportunities Policy.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / networks
The Open University will be leader of WP3 Successful institutional strategies. Further, the OU will contribute by providing breakthrough experience, strategies in LLL and new business models.
It will ensure that they meet the objectives of the project, as well as those of the partners.


Open Universiteit Nederland develops, provides and promotes innovative distance education of academic quality, in collaboration with other institutions of higher education. As the prime Dutch university for lifelong learning, it addresses the wide-ranging needs of people during their course of life, plus the need to achieve a considerable increase of the knowledge level of the community at large. Open Universiteit Nederland seeks to be an institution that is strongly anchored in the Dutch higher education system through its educational, research and innovation activities, and that also operates successfully in the field of lifelong learning. It is a pioneer in open higher distance education and a leader in educational innovation, both in the Netherlands and internationally.
Open Universiteit Nederland acts de facto and de jure also as the open university for the Flemish speaking part of Belgium, the regions Flanders and Brussels.
Key figures for Open Universiteit Nederland (2005): staff: 732; budget: 61.4 million euro; 6 bachelor and 13 master programmes; 270 academic courses; active students: 18474; female: 51 %; age above 36: 57 %; students with fulltime jobs: 44 %; students following an academic programme: 35 %; students studying in Dutch study centres: 89 %; students studying Belgian study centres: 11 %. Course certificates: 24223; academic certificates 463.
In response to the Bologna Declaration and following declarations the Open Universiteit Nederland has taken the initiative to develop a Life Long Learning agenda in the Netherlands. So far this has resulted in the Dutch National Initiative on Life Long Learning in collaboration with Teleac/NOT, the SURFfoundation and others to contribute to the development of the knowledge based society. In addition the Open Universiteit Nederland has founded the Netherlands Laboratory for Life Long Learning (NELLL). NELLL operates four main program lines: innovative learning methods; learning technologies; the professional learner and social-economic aspects of life long learning.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Open Universiteit Nederland will participate as a consortium member in the activities described in Work Packages 2,3 and 4. The university will also participate in the dissemination activities described in Work Package 6. It will contribute by providing breakthrough experience, strategies in LLL and new models.

From its founding in 1973, UNED"s mission has been to provide Higher Education qualifications irrespective of geographical location or other personal circumstances barring people from attendance-based universities. At present, it has a network of more than 60 Centers throughout the country and 14 Study Centers abroad, where students have access to all kinds of academic services, including libraries, videoconferencing and a virtual campus. UNED is the largest university in Spain with more than 170.000 students enrolled. The study offer includes 20 degrees, as well as more than 100 Doctoral programmes and Master degrees. 1.300 full time teaching staff, 6.000 tutors and 1.300 administrative and technical staff make all this happen.
UNED has been committed from its inception to mobility and within a lifelong learning framework. Virtual mobility is now also a part of UNED"s profile and its Strategic Plan (06-09) declares a commitment to developing and promoting free access to online educational resources for all learners. Top priority is also given to strengthening UNED"s global presence by enhancing its participation in international associations and projects.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
UNED will contribute to the USBM project by providing breakthrough experience, strategies in LLL and new business models.


FernUniversität in Hagen is the only state-maintained distance teaching university in German-speaking countries and regions with 60 study centres in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Central and Eastern Europe. The presently registered 45,000 students benefit from the modern ICT-based distance education system which combines pedagogically well prepared study units with individual support, net-based co-operation, online communication offers, and face-to-face sessions. FernUniversität offers a real alternative to on-campus studies for everyone in a flexible way with regard to time, place and pace of studying towards high-quality final degrees (Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate) and university qualifications. Thus, FernUniversität also stands for the trend towards lifelong learning for all those persons of all ages who need update of academic and scientific knowledge and skills in parallel to employment or family activities, and already has developed business models for lifelong learning.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
FernUniversität will contribute to the project from its own background and experience in providing further education and lifelong learning since more than 30 years at a distance and in collaboration with conventional universities, business, industry and governments, mostly to students beyond the age of 30 and engaged in employment and family. The findings and results from its respective activities and the aims and objectives from the recently re-shaped strategy and development plan will be presented for discussion and benchmarking with the project partners. Same applies to the development of business models and the identification of target groups and their needs and demands in continuous academic and professional education and training. FernUniversität will actively participate in respective project"s meetings and activities as further described in the workpackages.




Anadolu University (AU) is a pioneer institution to solve educational problems in Turkey at a distance since 1982. AU also serves Turkish citizens living in the EU member states. The open education system offers 27 associate and bachelor degree programs. Today, 44 % of the overall on and off campus Turkish higher education students are enrolled at AU"s distance learning system. Teaching materials are designed and prepared with the self-study format. e-Learning portal is composed of e-Practice, e-Book, e-Television, e-Exam, e-Mentoring (a/synchronous) and e-Audio Book components. Lifelong learning is one of the priorities of AU and distance education is considered as a medium to provide lifelong learning to various groups via e-Certificate Programs (17 programs in Accounting, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Finance), Second University, Turkish Language Program, Occupational Training Programs (programs for the Gendarmerie, Police Force, the armed forces, teachers in public schools and some personnel working at the Ministry of Justice), and Yunus Emre open courseware, disseminating the contents of the distance courses.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Anadolu University shall support the consortium with its expertise in developing open and distance learning programme and strategies. Anadolu University Open Education System offers many Lifelong Learning programs that can serve as business models in developing strategies for lifelong learning, to be shared with the academic community. For example; Second University of AU, offers open access to a second higher education opportunity. The total number of students in the programs is 61.743 and the number of graduates up to now has reached to 7.590. Another AU program that can be a best practice worth benchmarking in the framework of the consortium is the Turkish Language Certificate Program which is completely online and is designed to teach Turkish language skills in Europe and worldwide, to a diverse population within the context of lifelong and flexible learning. ALTE standards have been targeted in this program. Several online graduate programs are being offered by AU; like the AU-SUNY, Empire State College e-MBA Program, e-Hospitality Management Program in tourism sector, Teaching Developmentally Disabled Children online MA program designed for teachers.


The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, established by Ministry Decree (April 2005) has been realized to valorize and enlarge the telematic didactic system settled by Consorzio NETTUNO (founded in 1992), enlarged at Euro-Mediterranean level thanks to the Med NetU Project (Mediterranean Network of Universities- Eumedis Programme)in which a network was established among 31 partners of 11 countries of the Euromediterranean area, aimed at designing and realizing university courses at a distance in a multilingual format. With UNINETTUNO, the Universities of the different countries are actually creating shared knowledge networks together and cooperate to deliver multilingual international university degrees at a distance. The courses are completely on-line, delivered trough the learning environment on the Internet (, developed by the University in a multilingual format: both contents and interfaces are available in Arabic, French, English, Italian and Spanish. The University has also two satellite television channels (RAINETTUNO SAT 1 and 2) that broadc-ast 48 hours at day didactic materials produced by the University. The didactic offer of the University (5 Faculty and 7 Degrees) is designed and realised according to the Bologna Declaration (3+2) and structured in Credits (ECTS).
The University has a long experience in international research programme cooperation started in 1994. A particularly important aspect has been the experience of designing common curricula shared a the European and Euro Mediterranean level implemented by the LIVIUS (Learning in Virtual Integrated University System) Med NetU projects and Open Sky Europe project (founded by the European Union as part of the Euromed Regional Communication Programme) aimed at realize a Master Course in European Culture and Politics. The University also operate in the research and in the training field in the framework of Virtual Mobility, started in 2003, with the cooperation in several European projects in the sector Virtual Campuses of the E-learning programme (HEAL - Higher Education E-Learning courses Assessment and Label, REVE - REal Virtual Erasmus Project; E-MOVE, An Operational Conception of Virtual Mobility; VENUS, Virtual and E-mobility for Networking Universities in Society).

The Uninettuno community is mainly composed by adult learners that find in Uninettuno didactic offer the opportunity to continuous their education and training. The the University has enlarged its activities in the research and in the training field in the framework of lifelong learning and has establishes joint-degree agreement with the Politecnico di Torino, with the University of Roma Tre and with Link Campus University of Malta - in order to offer new lifelong learning courses and pedagogically-rich experience to the learners and to contribute to the Bologna process. Therefore the Uninettuno has the capacity, the experience and the expertise to carry out the respective tasks foreseen in the project.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Uninettuno will act as an Internal Evaluator in WP5. Further, it will report of success business cases, breakthrough experience and strategies in LLL to the project partnership. It will have a strong involvement in all the work packages.


NSHU is our abbreviation, which is based on the Swedish title of the agency. Prior to 2006 we were known as the Swedish Net University Agency. The Swedish Net University and its student portal remain, but we have two additional main tasks "educational development and widening participation. Moreover, we are to promote the changes in the structure of Swedish higher education and degrees which result from changes in Europe, in everyday language called the Bologna Process.
Through dialogue and openness we are to promote collaboration between Sweden"s universities and university colleges and, together with them, support further development. No one knows what the future holds in store. But we do know that a continuous development of skills is needed, both for individuals and organisations. This brochure will give you a quick orientation in the issues with which we work.
The creation of meeting places and networks is one method that we are going to prioritise. Maybe we"ll meet soon at a workshop or a seminar.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network.
NSHU will organise the local meeting and contribute to the USBM-project by providing breakthrough experience, strategies in LLL and new business models.


Aarhus University is a member of the Danish Association of Open Universities, which was formed in 1995 as a prolongation of Jutland Open University, established in 1982.
At Aarhus University academic values form the basis for all activities. Via curious research, critical analysis and ongoing debate, researchers and students endeavour to find new ways to gain insight, understanding, spiritual development and education for the benefit of society as a whole.
Aarhus University is a dual mode research university with both campus-based student and students in open learning degree programmes. In 2006 2,577 students participated lifelong open and flexible learning courses.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
DAOU will be leader of WP4 and organise a local meeting.

In Denmark open and distance learning is an integrated part of all Danish universities, offering formal qualifying university education part-time (face-to-face evening courses) as well as distance education. Open university activities draw on the research activities of and share teaching staff with the mother universities. Furthermore, Denmark is one of the few countries in which lifelong learning is mentioned in the University Law (2003) as a fourth obligation in line with offering BA, MA and PHD degrees. This unique situation makes Denmark an interesting case study for the development of business models for lifelong learning in higher education in Europe. Aarhus University was one of the founders of distance university education and lifelong learning in Denmark I 1982.


K.U.Leuven was established in 1425 and is the oldest university of the Low Countries. K.U.Leuven is a research-intensive university and is a founding member of LERU (League of European Research Universities) and Coimbra Group. The university plays a leading role in the innovation of higher education. It developed the concept of guided independent learning. It stimulates continuing education for non-traditional students and virtual learning. K.U.Leuven has a long standing tradition within the Erasmus programme as well as in the EU research pogrammes and it organises about 60 international master programmes. Last years, K.U.Leuven has constructed a extensive electronic learning environment, TOLEDO, largely considered as a frontrunner achievement.
Linked into this project are AV/Net, the Studiecentrum Open Universiteit, the departments for university education and ICT, continuing education, educational policy and international relations.
The AVNet department will coordinate the KULeuven partnership. It participated already in a number of projects on virtual education, e-learning and networked e-learning and distance education in an international context.
AVNet hosts the secretariat of EuroPACE ivzw. AVNet also hosts the secretariat of EUNITE (, a strategic alliance of eight European universities, aiming at the exchange and sharing of courses and joint course development.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
K.U.Leuven wil participate in this project as a prominent conventional university. Recently, it has developed a strategic plan. One of the targets of this plan is to build a knowledge and competence network all over Flanders together with twelve assotiated higher education partners.
In this project, K.U.Leuven will rely on experience with various initiatives, spread over the faculties like as the Pentalfa project (updating for medical specialists via videoconferences in hospitals all over Flanders), the European master degree programme in social security, the master degree e-Urbs (Erasmus project coordinated by the University of Urbino), Lectures of the XXIst Century, coperations with LERU and coimbra Group. One of the important activity is the Studiecentrum Open Universiteit in co-operation with the Open Universitiet of the Netherlands . This co-operation is now extending to curriculum development with some faculties.


Higher Education, cross-disciplinary research, international networking and exachanfe, eLearning expertise.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Lund University will organise a local meeting and share its expertise in lifelong learning design in general and for sustainable regional growth in particular.


Moscow State University for Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI) established in 1932 is one of Russia's leading higher education institutions in the field of economics, statistics and computer science both for Russian nationals and nationals of other countries. MESI is the leading Russian distance teaching university with overall number of students of more than 150 000. Along with its Moscow campus, MESI comprises 13 branches and about 200 study centers all over Russia (from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok) and abroad. MESI has over 70 years of experience in distance education, over 30 years in computer-based instruction and 10 years of e-learning practice. MESI is the participant of European integration activities in the frames of Bologna process (joint study programs, academic mobility, European diploma supplement, etc.). MESI has implemented European System of Quality Management and is the first Russian University certified according to ISO 9001:2000 standard.
MESI is the member of: EADTU, EAIE, ICDE, EDEN, IAOE, IASHS, e-University, and IMS Global Consortium. The University collaborates with leading European distance teaching organizations. The Memorandums of understanding and cooperation have been signed with most of them.
MESI has been running educational programmes at all levels, from pre-school to higher education to continuing, recurrent and liberal education in a lifelong learning approach.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
As a partner in the project, MESI will put at the disposal of the Consortium its experience in organizing LLL programmes and contribute to the planned reports and recommendations. It will focus on the local introduction of the project results by organizing a meeting on the development of institutional LLL strategies and promoting successful business models for LLL among MESI partners in Russia and abroad.