The University of Salford has embarked on an innovative educational partnership with leading global e-learning provider SkillSoft.
It is the first time in the UK that such an alliance has been made.
This joint venture will enable students and key employees to undertake programmes of study by blended distance learning – from home or from work – via the Internet.
Initially, 60 students are to be enrolled on the cutting-edge programme, which starts this autumn. But the number could rise to more than 1,000 in years to come.
The programme is specifically aimed at postgraduate students and employees who wish to further their professional development. Initially, the two programmes on offer will be a Master's in Business Administration and an MSc in Strategic Leadership.
SkillSoft already work with some of the world's largest multinational corporations and their USA partners include the prestigious Duke University, in North Carolina, and the University of Phoenix.
It will utilise the "Desktop Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)", a downloadable application that can run on any typical MS Windows-based laptop or desktop computer.
Dr John Rae, a member of the Salford team, said: "This is anytime, anywhere learning for those on the move, or for the small- or medium-sized enterprises that can't afford to manage a corporate VLE.
"SkillSoft is the world's largest deliverer of online learning, with more than 4.5m registered students. This new partnership enables Salford University's quality assured postgraduate programmes to be studied around the globe by means of tried and tested delivery channels.
"It is Salford's enterprising nature, coupled with SkillSoft's established and successful track record, that has enabled this unique partnership to take place."
Kevin Young, managing director of SkillSoft's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division, said they had looked at a number of British universities and found that they were not ready for "true blended executive learning".
However, when they were approached by Salford they found "a partner with the type of enterprise and vision we were seeking".
He added: "Our customers are looking for a high reputation university with a clear vision for the future. We're still at the early stages, but are very excited at the prospect of an alliance with the University of Salford.
"There is a clear demand for the Salford product from the corporate market."
As well as Dr Rae and Kevin Young, the partnership discussion group comprised Tony Glass, EMEA vice-president corporate sales and Professor Carole Roberts and Gary Taylor from the University of Salford.
For more information contact:
Dr John Rae, University of Salford 0161 295 5943
Wendy Quilliam, University of Salford 0161 295 5682
SkillSoft is a leading provider of comprehensive e-learning content and technology products. SkillSoft's multi-modal learning solutions support and enhance the speed and effectiveness of both formal and informal learning
Content offerings include SkillSoft's Business Skills Library and IT Skills and Certification Library; ITPro, BusinessPro, FinancePro, EngineeringPro, OfficeEssentials, and ExecSummaries Referenceware(TM) collections by Books24x7; and health and safety compliance courseware by GoTrain. Skillsoft's complementary technologies include SkillPort, the Company's learning management platform with its powerful Search-and-Learn capabilities, and SkillSoft Dialogue, the Company's newly introduced virtual classroom offering with associated tools for blended learning solutions. For more information, visit http://www.skillsoft.com.