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The virtual university for small states of the commonwealth
West, Paul G. and Daniel, John

PublishedFebruary 2009
JournalOpen Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning
Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 85-95

The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) was
conceived by ministers at their triennial Conference of Commonwealth Ministers of Education in 2000. The Commonwealth of Learning was asked to investigate possible models, and presented a proposal to ministers at their next conference in 2003. The concept of a virtual university as a network was approved and the Commonwealth of Learning was asked to help countries collaborate and strengthen the capacity of national education institutions through this mechanism. The concept of sharing course materials and programmes was a fundamental principle from the start and gained momentum as the trend to open courseware and Open Educational
Resources developed. The VUSSC uses a range of materials that conform to different Creative Commons copyright licences, all of which allow the free reuse and, usually, customisation of materials. The VUSSC works with governments and national institutions, many of which have established national qualification frameworks.
The VUSSC is working with these governments to establish a ‘Transnational Qualifications Framework’. The Transnational Qualifications Framework will be a translation point between the systems in different countries and regions, and will help provide momentum to the transfer of courses, qualifications and learners between countries. National institutions that wish to offer educational programmes that are co-branded with the VUSSC will have these approved within the institution, by the national qualification authority and, where applicable, the regional qualification authority. The programmes that fulfil these requirements will be posted with their accreditation status on the VUSSC web site that will be developed in 2008.

Keywords accreditation · collaboration · Commonwealth of Learning · e-learning · virtual university

Rights© 2009 The Open University
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