Institutions that plan to offer large scale and professional online education need an 
administrative system which is integrated with the web. To accomplish this, institutions may 
follow several strategies. The simplest strategy is probably to collaborate with an institution 
that already has a functional administrative system. Another solution, which requires more 
technical competence, is to develop an in house system based on common Internet services. 
The third option is to purchase a standard system for online education. These standard systems 
are continuously being improved, but they may still need much local adaptation. They may 
only meet some of the administrative needs, and they could place some pedagogical 
limitations on the courses. 
A discouraging, but important observation is that a number of institutions do not use the web 
for administrative purposes. Outsourcing is an option that does not seem to be much used, 
only one instance was identified. Many of the institutions have developed in house 
administrative solutions in combinations with standard Internet software. The standard 
administrative systems that were mentioned in the interviews were FirstClass, WebCT, and 
Lotus Notes. 
Advertising and Financial Issues 
It is implicit in many of the interviews that advertising of programs and courses is an 
important function of the web services. 
The tuition fees for web courses seem to vary considerably among institutions and courses. 
Some courses are free and open to everyone, and others seem to have full or partial external 
funding. One may ask how many of these initiatives that will continue when the external 
funding ceases. The institutions that operate with tuition fees seem to have fees that are the 
same or not very different from fees in traditional courses. The analysis has revealed few, if 
any, examples of institutions with substantial income from student fees. Likewise, there seem 
to be few institutions that can claim that provision of web based courses has been an 
economic success, if they disregard external research and development grants. 
Pedagogical Issues 
The tutors seem to be both part time teachers that are engaged just for the online courses and 
full time teachers that also teach some online courses. It is also interesting to observe that 
distributed experts and students take part in the tutoring. 
An analysis of the interviews indicates that the tutors at least conduct the following functions 
which are extracted from the statements below: 
   Organizational functions: structure discussions, pacing, put forward initiatives 
   Social functions: monitor groups 
   Intellectual functions: answer questions, guiding students on the Internet 
   Assessment functions: give feedback to assignments, correct submissions 
Human tutoring seems to be much more common than machine tutoring, but some institutions 
include machine tutoring in addition to human tutoring. Most institutions seem to combine 
individual tutoring with group tutoring. The focus between the two could however vary. 
Online teaching is in many courses supplemented with face to face meetings, video  or audio 
conferences, or telephone contact. 



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