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Online learning offers a way around SARS


It may seem extreme, but the very lack of personal contact often cited as a problem when using e-learning is proving to be a distinct advantage in SARS-afflicted Hong Kong.

Thousands of the city's students are logging on to their studies using a system developed by the Interactive University based at Heriot-Watt University, Scotland. The system, named SCHOLAR, is one of the programmes developed by the University currently also being used by students in Scotland, which also focuses on post-compulsory education.

David Farquhar, Chief Operating Officer of IU said:

"We are delighted to work with the Hong Kong authorities to support the many thousands of school pupils who are heading for exams. Heriot-Watt SCHOLAR is designed to do just this - it enables students to learn on their own, at a time which suits them, collaboratively with their friends and tutors. In a situation where schools are shut and pupils relatively isolated in terms of academic support, SCHOLAR offers a supported e-learning mechanism where they can go at their own pace and be tutored and nurtured along the way.

"We are acutely aware of the distress SARS is causing our colleagues in education in Hong Kong. The offer of free access to our resources is a means for us to give something back to a community with which we have excellent and established links and to display solidarity within the education sector as a whole."


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