educational providers, the international dominance of the English language, the well
developed university systems, and the famous brand name universities.
The linguistic diversity in Europe is problematic for global competitiveness. Hence, UK
providers seem to have a more international approach than providers in other European
countries. Different national systems of degrees, certificates, and grades also make it more
difficult to compete globally. A European harmonization of these systems will increase the
competitiveness. Further, unlike North America, higher education in Europe is largely state
funded, and this could resist change and become a barrier to competitiveness. The most
obvious example is that national regulations in countries such as Sweden and Germany
prevent institutions from charging tuition fees.
The Australian institutions are among the largest and most advanced in this analysis. Since the
courses also are provided in English, Australian institutions should be very competitive in the
emerging global market.
A Canadian competitive analysis of online post secondary education reports that the biggest
surprise was the lack of institutional strategy for online learning initiatives.
A large number of the CISAER institutions offer quite few web courses. As many as 23.1% of
the institutions report to have only one web course, and 46.2% of them report to offer less
than 5 courses. Only four institutions reported to have 100 courses or more. From this, one
can infer that much of the activities are experimental and not pivotal for the institutions. The
survey also showed that 29.3% of the institutions report that they have 100 or fewer students.
Only four institutions reported to have more than 5000 students. The relatively low enrolment
numbers also indicate that web based instruction is not pivotal to these institutions.
One may conclude that there is a dominance of web courses in the fields of computer and
information sciences and by courses in education. Except from these two fields, web courses
cover a very broad range of subjects. The number of subject areas that was offered varied
considerably between the institutions. Nearly half of the institutions offer courses in only one
category and only five offered courses in five or more categories.
None of the surveyed institutions seem to provide enough online courses and support services
that this analysis would characterize them as virtual or online universities. The survey shows
that 60.0% of the 130 institutions belong to the university and college sector, 10.0% to the
traditional open university and distance education sector, and 9.2% were classified as
companies or corporations.
An administrative system should be able to handle students, teachers, courses, and course
material. An online college may have to handle thousands of students, hundreds of teachers,
and a large number of courses with password restricted web pages, discussion forums,
distribution lists, class rosters, and student presentations. It may also have to provide
administrative systems for the dispatch of textbooks, handling of tuition and examination fees,
and organization of local examinations. These services constitute a major challenge for many