Volume 93, Issue 21

Tuesday, October 5, 1999


Saugeen pub questions linger

Canada founds world's first online university

Police target rising numbers of youth in crime

Air waves muddled at U of T radio

Millennium and J.W. Little turn weekend profit for city

Homecoming hooplah kept low


Buzz Mecca

Canada founds world's first online university

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Canada's newest university will soon offer those interested in a high tech executive masters degree an innovative option.

The newly created Unexus University, based in Fredericton, New Brunswick, is touting itself as the first privately owned, internet-based university.

The school offers an executive Masters in Business Administration in Technology, Information and Innovation and starts Jan. 17, said Michael Gaffney, president and Chief Executive Officer of Learnsoft, the Ontario-based management training company which owns and operates the school. The university is targeting those aged 25-50.

"We're aiming for those in small towns and people who have kids and other commitments, which makes it impossible for them to complete a program at traditional brick and mortar institutions," Gaffney said.

The program will cost $25,000, one-third the expense of most regular executive MBA programs and should take two and half years to complete, Gaffney said. He added textbooks and group projects via the net will be a vital component of the program.

The school, which is expecting enrollment to reach 300 plans to offer other masters programs next year. Undergraduate programs are a long-term consideration, Gaffney said.

He added most of the $3 million invested in the school has come from private sources and government grants.

Although he could not assess the validity of the program, Jim Cromwell, director of post-secondary affairs with the New Brunsick Ministry of Education, said the school passed the required audit and assessment. The course's curriculum was reviewed by three business school deans from across Canada, he said.

However, Allen Morrison, associate dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business, said there are some inherent problems with an internet-based style of teaching.

"An MBA classroom experience is a powerful life transforming one," he said. "You work with a group of highly intelligent students in a real-time learning experience that you can't get online."

Morrison added employers will ultimately hold the answer to the school's credibility.

Fourth-year Ivey student Paula Shurge said while she has taken an undergraduate course online and is considering the possibility of taking an MBA, the thought of pursuing this program online was not overly enticing. "You lose a lot of the personal interaction and classroom dynamic when you put it on-line."

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