Interactive University

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The phrase "interactive university" could refer to many entities but the capitalised phrase "Interactive University" (IU) is normally taken to refer to the Interactive University which flourished in Scotland until closed in 2007.

The Interactive University was an organisation to help develop and promote interactive eLearning for global e-education markets. It was established in 2002 as a joint initiative between Heriot Watt University and Scottish Enterprise (the national economic development agency for Scotland), with headquarters in Edinburgh. Managed by a team which offered both business expertise and academic experience, the University set out to create a radical new model for global learning. It was initially quite successful but had to return to Scottish Enterprise for further funding in 2007 - after much discussion the funding request was rejected and the University closed shortly afterwards.


The main report on Interactive University is the Competitor Analysis: Interactive University written by Sara Frank Bristow for UKeU in 2003 and finalised in early 2004), updated by Paul Bacsich in summer 2005. As part of the updating process, the earlier version of the report was passed to Interactive University staff for comment.

No other substantial report is known to be publicly available - indeed, no other substantial report is known of.

However, there is a presentation by the then CEO at - interestingly (with hindsight) on a session on "sustainability".

Documentation of recent situation

As noted by Seb Schmoller in his blog posting The Scotsman reported that the Interactive University is to shut at the end of May 2007:

On 17 April 2007, The Scotsman newspaper reported that the Interactive University (IU), which has been held up as one of the few UK examples of apparently* successful large-scale provision of on line university-level education, and which was recruiting staff until recently, "is to close its doors at the end of next month", after "it failed to attract participation from the majority of Scottish universities and a bid for a lifeline £1.5 million from Scottish Enterprise was refused". For a detailed review of the Interactive University, written for the UKeUniversity before the latter had the plug finally pulled on it, see this 2004 report by Sara Frank Bristow, edited by Paul Bacsich [180 kB DOC].
* I say "apparently" as I am very sceptical about the approach to content development described by the IU. In my experience "ensuring that the whole content production process is completely independent of the end method of delivery" is neither a realistic nor a desirable endeavour.

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