Broadcast: News items

University of Sussex launches flexible online degrees

The first University of Sussex degree to be taught entirely online is now accepting applications. 

Introducing a major new investment into flexible, online learning, the University of Sussex and online-learning experts Pearson have signed a new, 10-year partnership to deliver a number of postgraduate qualifications online. The courses can be studied anywhere in the world, at a time and pace to suit each student. 

The first course, an MSc in International Marketing is now accepting applications to start in September 2018, with further courses including an MSc in Energy Policy and Sustainable Development MSc to follow. 

The MSc in International Marketing aims to develop students’ practical and specialist skills, with a particular focus on digital marketing, customer relationships and consumer psychology in an international business context.  

Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: “We have responded to the growing demand from students around the world and across the UK for more flexible ways of studying. The world is changing fast and demand for a high-quality education, like ours, has never been higher. These new degrees will give hundreds more people that opportunity, fitting around their lifestyles and other commitments. 

“Our ambition is clear – we want to be a world leader in flexible, online learning and these degrees are a hugely exciting first step in making that a reality.” 

Together, the University and Pearson are creating a high quality, flexible studying experience for online learners. All teaching, content, educational expertise and course delivery is owned by the University, whilst Pearson oversees instructional design, technology, course marketing, student recruitment, retention and support. The University aims to enrol 1,000 online distance learners within five years. 

The connection with Sussex’s world-leading academic experts is a key reason why students choose Sussex, and this philosophy underpins the design of the new online degrees. Teaching will be delivered by academics and practitioners, giving students access to a dedicated support network. The quality of the teaching and learning is exactly the same as for a degree resulting from on campus study - and students get the same academic award at the end of their studies. 

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson’s UK & Core business, said: “This partnership opens up the opportunity for learners across the world to study at one of the UK’s most prestigious universities. It is a real demonstration of British higher education excellence being opened up to benefit both UK and international students.

“For Pearson, improving access to higher education in partnership with universities using online capability, presents a significant opportunity to make an impact on learning. We have built up extensive expertise in helping universities scale online and our partnership with the University of Sussex is a tremendous opportunity to help improve access to high quality learning for more students around the world.” 

To support the development and delivery of these courses, a central team has been established within Technology Enhanced Learning, led by Dr David Walker and with Mellow Sadik appointed as the University’s Online Distance Learning Manager. 

Stephen Shute, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), led the project delivery group. He said: “These courses have been a long time in the planning and I am delighted to be able to open applications for the first one. 

“We’ve been adamant from the start that the opportunity to learn at Sussex virtually must also be personal and very much a human experience, and colleagues across the University have been working hard for months to bring this idea to life. 

“I would like to thank the Technology Enhanced Learning team and everyone else involved for their thoughtful and creative input.” 

The global online degree programme management sector is valued at $1.2bn and has been growing by double digit percentage points over the last several years. Pearson is a leading provider in the US and in the more nascent international market. 

The trend in online learning is being driven by the growing demand for flexible study, and the trend to reskilling and learning while at work, to meet the demands of the evolving labour markets. In this partnership model, the courses are designed using a carousel module, with modules starting every two months. This means if students need to take a break from their studies at any time, they can simply ‘step-off’ the course and rejoin once they have the time to concentrate on their studies again.

By: James Hakner
Further information:
Last updated: Monday, 30 April 2018