NKI Nettstudier (formerly known as NKI Fjernundervisning or NKI Distance Education) is the leading distance education institution in Norway and claims to be the largest distance education institution in Northern Europe.
NKI Nettstudier was one of the first institutions world-wide to offer online education when it in 1987 launched its first online distance learning courses based on a conferencing system developed internally specifically for distance education. Since then NKI online education is based on large-scale integration of technology and systems for distance education.
NKI Nettstudier offers over 450 courses and study programmes at secondary and undergraduate level, as well as specialized vocational training courses in various fields. The institution employs some 60 full-time and 250 part-time tutors. Each year, NKI Nettstudier has around 20,000 active students out of a Norwegian population of 4.6 million inhabitants.
NKI Nettstudier is recognized by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and receives each year government grants towards operating costs.
Its web site is at http://www.nki.no/
Levels of study
NKI Nettstudier offers a range of subjects leading to examinations at undergraduate level, partly in collaboration with public universities and university colleges. Higher education courses cover a broad spectrum of subjects in the fields of information technology, philosophy, psychology, education, economics and business administration.
Upper Secondary Education
At upper secondary level NKI Nettstudier offers courses and training leading to examinations in general studies, health and social studies, design studies, hotel and catering, mechanical trades, building and construction and electrical trades.
It offers a number of school-level courses to special categories of students, such as teenage mothers.
Online distance education
NKI started net-based education as early as 1987. NKI distinguished between three technological generations of electronic distance education
- The first generation system, which was based upon the EKKO computer conferencing system developed at NKI, was in operation from 1987 to 1993.
- The second generation, which was Internet-based, started in January 1994.
- The third generation, which comprises web-based courses, was introduced in 1996. NKI experiences are reported in several articles available at http://nettskolen.nki.no/pub/artikkel.xsql?artid=114. A detailed case description is available in NKI Fjernundervisning: Two Decades of Online Sustainability.
All NKI Internet-based distance education courses and programmes have the following criteria in common:
- All or part of the course material is available on the Internet.
- The students must be able to communicate with each other via the Internet.
- The students must be able to communicate with the teacher via the Internet.
NKI is now in the process of providing Internet-based communication between students and teachers in all distance education programmes.
In 1999 roughly one quarter of the courses and programmes at NKI were offered through NKI Electronic College or as a combination of internet- and postal-based education.
In 2007, nearly all 450 courses and programmes are offered online, and in 2006 NKI registered more than 16,000 online course enrolments.
As of February 2007 NKI has over 8,600 active students in online courses.
Relevant international projects
(selected from http://www.nki.no/in_english.xsql?menyID=43&this=1137)
MegaTrends in e-learning provision
The specific aim of the MegaTrends project is to seek to identify the MegaTrends: what are the rules for achieving critical mass in e-learning; what are the rules for moving from a small scale fragile e-learning provider to a large scale permanent and successful e-learning institution.
The project's aims to enhance public knowledge on sustainable and cost-effective large-scale e-learning by analyzing the trends and contributions to large-scale success and to identify laws and recommendations for success and failure in e-learning.
CISAER: Courses on the Internet: Survey, Analysis, Evaluation, Recommendation
CISAER was a project supported by the European Leonardo da Vinci programme. The project aimed to provide a comprehensive, state-of-the-art survey of course provision on the WWW with professional analysis, balanced evaluation and far-reaching recommendations which will provide the field of vocational education and training in the EU with a tool for dealing with this new training dimension.
The project partners were:
- Ana Dias, Tecminho, Portugal
- Desmond Keegan, Distance Education International, Ireland
- Robin Mason, The Open University, UK
- Morten Flate Paulsen and Torstein Rekkedal, NKI, Norway
Research and Development
NKI has engaged in research and development in distance education since 1970. Most of the NKI research projects have been partly financed with public funds from the Norwegian state and from EU. For recent publications in Norwegian and English see the web site http://nettskolen.nki.no/pub/artikkel.xsql?artid=114
Use of technology
In recent years, international distance education, with its origins in postal communication, has increasingly adopted new technologies for communication. Over the years NKI has engaged in research into the applications of different technologies and the pedagogical challenges these technologies raise. Since the launch of online distance education in 1987 the emphasis has been on Internet-based education.
Cooperation in Norway
NKI Nettstudier cooperates with the University of Oslo, and with several colleges of higher education, on programmes where the higher education institutions are responsible for academic issues and NKI has responsibility for organizing the development, design, marketing, administration and delivery of the courses. NKI Nettstudier is an active member of the Norwegian Association for Distance Education (NADE).
NKI participates internationally through the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), European Association for Distance Learning (EADL) and European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN).
NKI Nettstudier attaches great importance to assuring the quality of its courses and programmes. We operate according to a quality assurance system, which is based on national standards developed in cooperation between NADE and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
This institution/programme was discussed as a case study in the Megatrends project in its second report, Megaproviders of e-learning in Europe (PDF - 212 pages - EN), 2007 (ISBN 978 82 562 88184).