First Global 'Virtual' Graduation Celebrates Success of Online Students; Founder of the World Wide Web Awarded With Honorary Doctorate From the Open University

Mar 31, 2000, 00:00 ET from United States Open University

    MILTON KEYNES, England, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open University, the
 world's acknowledged leader in part-time education and adult learning and the
 sister institution of the United States Open University, today held the first
 worldwide "virtual" graduation ceremony, awarding Masters degrees to 24
 students from around the world.
     Students from the UK, Taiwan, USA, Switzerland, Iceland, Hong Kong,
 Finland and Greece participating in the ceremony received an MA in Open and
 Distance Education.  The students studied entirely online throughout their
 course.
     The Open University also presented an honorary doctorate to Tim Berners-
 Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web.  Mr. Berners-Lee participated in the
 ceremony live from MIT, where he is a visiting professor.
     Students participating in the ceremony contributed a page about themselves
 to a yearbook featuring photographs, comments and audio notes.  During the
 ceremony, presided over by The Open University's vice chancellor Sir John
 Daniel, as students' names were called out, their photograph appeared on a
 screen and their audio notes were played.  The ceremony, which was recorded,
 will be put onto a CD-Rom and sent to the graduates with their certificates.
 After the ceremony, the students and their tutors celebrated their graduation
 through an online chat session.
     Guests logged on to The Open University's website and watched the ceremony
 live.  It will be replayed on The Open University's website,
 http://www.open.ac.uk, starting April 5, 2000.
     Professor Robin Mason, director of the MA program in The Open University's
 Center for Information Technology in Education, called the event  "unique and
 entirely appropriate for a program in which students from all over the world
 have worked together online for three years and never met face to face."
     "Despite the technology, and yet because of the technology, many of the
 students have developed very close friendships with each other and with their
 tutors," said Professor Mason.
     The Open University was established in 1969 in the United Kingdom by Royal
 Charter and is the UK's largest educational institution, with more than
 164,000 students enrolled in 41 countries.  It has opened the door to higher
 education for more than two million people around the world.
     The Open University's sister institution is the United States Open
 University, a not-for-profit university providing high-quality, part-time
 education to students whose jobs and family obligations prevent them from
 pursuing full-time study.  U.S. Open University began offering courses in
 January 2000.
     The Open University offers 14 courses entirely online, including You, Your
 Computer and the Net, which attracted 12,000 students in its first year.
 Altogether, more than 80,000 OU students are online.
 
 

SOURCE United States Open University
    MILTON KEYNES, England, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open University, the
 world's acknowledged leader in part-time education and adult learning and the
 sister institution of the United States Open University, today held the first
 worldwide "virtual" graduation ceremony, awarding Masters degrees to 24
 students from around the world.
     Students from the UK, Taiwan, USA, Switzerland, Iceland, Hong Kong,
 Finland and Greece participating in the ceremony received an MA in Open and
 Distance Education.  The students studied entirely online throughout their
 course.
     The Open University also presented an honorary doctorate to Tim Berners-
 Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web.  Mr. Berners-Lee participated in the
 ceremony live from MIT, where he is a visiting professor.
     Students participating in the ceremony contributed a page about themselves
 to a yearbook featuring photographs, comments and audio notes.  During the
 ceremony, presided over by The Open University's vice chancellor Sir John
 Daniel, as students' names were called out, their photograph appeared on a
 screen and their audio notes were played.  The ceremony, which was recorded,
 will be put onto a CD-Rom and sent to the graduates with their certificates.
 After the ceremony, the students and their tutors celebrated their graduation
 through an online chat session.
     Guests logged on to The Open University's website and watched the ceremony
 live.  It will be replayed on The Open University's website,
 http://www.open.ac.uk, starting April 5, 2000.
     Professor Robin Mason, director of the MA program in The Open University's
 Center for Information Technology in Education, called the event  "unique and
 entirely appropriate for a program in which students from all over the world
 have worked together online for three years and never met face to face."
     "Despite the technology, and yet because of the technology, many of the
 students have developed very close friendships with each other and with their
 tutors," said Professor Mason.
     The Open University was established in 1969 in the United Kingdom by Royal
 Charter and is the UK's largest educational institution, with more than
 164,000 students enrolled in 41 countries.  It has opened the door to higher
 education for more than two million people around the world.
     The Open University's sister institution is the United States Open
 University, a not-for-profit university providing high-quality, part-time
 education to students whose jobs and family obligations prevent them from
 pursuing full-time study.  U.S. Open University began offering courses in
 January 2000.
     The Open University offers 14 courses entirely online, including You, Your
 Computer and the Net, which attracted 12,000 students in its first year.
 Altogether, more than 80,000 OU students are online.
 
 SOURCE  United States Open University