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Report 00/44

PricewaterhouseCoopers report

Business model for the e-University

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Contents and preface of the report


e-University project: business model

The Report
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1 - Examples of e-initiatives in higher education
[ MS Word 26K | Zipped MS Word 6K | PDF 17K ]

2 - Options for the corporate structure
[ MS Word 108K | Zipped MS Word 21K | PDF 37K ]

3 - Learning products and services
[ MS Word 111K | Zipped MS Word 33K | PDF 107K ]

4 - Technology aspects
[ MS Word 179K | Zipped MS Word 70K | PDF 191K ]


Part A: Aims and objectives 5
  A1 Background 6
  A2 The challenge for the UK 7
  A3 Aims 8
  A4 Objectives 9
Part B: The business model 11
  B1 The basic concept 12
  B2 Markets, courses and modules 14
  B3 Content design, production and procurement 16
  B4 Learner support 19
  B5 Coherence and awards 22
  B6 Learner choice and advice 23
  B7 Technological underpinning 26
  B8 Ownership and structure 28
  B9 Corporate functions 34
  B10 Revenue opportunities and headline costs 36
  B11 Initial markets 43
  B12 Branding 46
Part C: Conclusion and next steps 49
  C Conclusion and next steps 50


  1 Examples of e-initiatives in higher education
  2 Options for the corporate structure
  3 Learning products and services
  4 Technology aspects


This study has been a fascinating and a difficult one. Our task was to produce a business model for an e-University, a concept that did not exist, yet one which already conveyed a wide variety of meanings to different people. Both within and outside the higher education sector, there are those for whom the current paradigm of higher education is almost sacrosanct, as well as those for whom it is virtually dead. We believe our proposals steer between this Scylla and Charybdis.

There are many points on which we are clear, or fairly clear, about what needs to be done, but for which much more work is needed to find the best ways of doing it. It is in the nature of e-businesses in general that many of the solutions will only emerge in the course of trying to make it happen. The e-world does not wait for tried and tested solutions; nor must the e-university. Our higher education faces a great opportunity, but a great challenge. We are confident of its success.

Our work has been assisted by many people so far, and there are many more contributions to come. We thank them all for helping us develop these ideas – and especially we thank our Steering Group and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Our team was:

Quentin Thompson (team leader), consultant
Keith Baker, consultant
Alistair Cromwell, PwC
Peter Gist, Arup Communications
Rebecca Rhys, Arup Communications
Andy Wolfe, consultant
assisted by Margaret Martin, PwC