Engelsk jubileumsutgave

NKI celebrates twenty years of online education

In the Fall of 2007, NKI Distance Education celebrates its 20th anniversary as an online education provider. During the Fall NKI has received the following greetings from prominent experts in the field.
Dr. Desmond Keegan, Distance Education International
Professor Desmond Keegan travelled from Ireland to give a presentation on NKI's development as a provider of online education in a European perspective. Keegan knows NKI well through cooperation in about 10 EU-projects. In a statement to Nettskoleavisen, he says that he is impressed by the fact that NKI continuously has been a pioneer in European online education. He points out that NKI has been among the European forerunners in several important fields and emphasizes that NKI was especially early in providing online education, web-based education, mobile learning, universal accessibility and speech synthesis in all courses. He also claims that NKI's tools and services for individual planning and follow-up as well as NKI's unique learning partner system are innovative services in European online education.

In his presentation, Keegan compared NKI's development with three major public distance education institutions in Europe. He stated that Open University in the UK has been prudent and not moved rapidly to e-learning. The FernUnversität in Germany made a decision to go 100 % on-line, but the students rejected the move. The CNED in France seems little affected by the move to e-learning. Compared to these institutions, Keegan claimed that NKI has made a wise choice by always allowing the students to choose between online courses and distance education courses.

The first online education program, at the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute in California, opened in 1982, only five years before NKI entered the field. Now 20 years later NKI is no longer a pioneer but a well established model for others. It has survived and grown through tremendous changes in technologies and mentalities.

NKI has remained true to the ideal of bringing human communication to distance learning despite the temptation to automate education which fascinated so many institutional leaders in the 1990s. With the failure of that trend, for both technical and pedagogical reasons, NKI's humanistic approach appears all the more justified.

Congratulations to NKI on its birthday and may it continue to innovate for many years to come!

Andrew Feenberg
Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology
School of Communication
Simon Fraser University

Professor Robin Mason
Institute of Educational Technology
The Open University
Twenty years of online teaching is well worth celebrating ? NKI is a true pioneer in the field of elearning. Now various forms of online teaching have become mainstream in most universities, whether on campus or at a distance. In 1987, it was a much more challenging, risky and demanding venture: the technology was non-intuitive, unreliable and less available than is the case now. Web 2.0 tools and approaches are again transforming the social environment in which elearning operates, just as modems, computer conferencing and the Web did in the 1990s.

Who knows what elearning will become in another twenty years!

'NKI was a world leader in 1987 when it started offering online programs over the Internet.

I was fortunate to be at the launch of this historic initiative, and have followed with great interest NKI's continued success in this field.
Vision, leadership and the professionalism of NKI's staff are the main reasons for this success. You should enjoy this moment of celebration. As the Internet continues to develop, and new tools such as Web 2.0 continue to offer new opportunities for course design, there is no room for complacency. However, NKI has shown that it is well capable of meeting such challenges. May your next 20 years be as successful!'

Dr. Tony Bates

Professor Terry Anderson
Athabasca University, Canada
Dear Friends and Colleagues.
Congratulations to NKI for 20 years of contribution and service to not only thousands of Norwegian learners, but to a world wide community of researchers and on line learning practitioners!

NKI is one of the few educational organizations, that though not directly funded or supported to conduct research has consistently and over 20 years, provided both theoretical and empirical research to guide not only its own practice, but that of a world wide community as well. As the editor of the International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning, it is always a pleasure to receive an article for publication from NKI scholars. As on line learning becomes mainstream, the challenge and the opportunity for pioneers to continue to lead increases. I am confident that NKI will be leading in a new net-infused culture of life long learning for another 20 years - at least!!
Best wishes for a joyful celebration of your success!

Congratulation with the anniversary! It is 20 years since NKI started online distance education. This was pioneer work, not only in Norway but also in Europe.
It is not incidental that a Nordic institution is a frontrunner in this kind of education. Distance education is a legitimate child of the democratic knowledge ambition and the Nordic public education tradition. E-learning is a natural extension of the work NKI has conducted for almost 50 years.
Education is liberating in itself, but online programs provide special conditions for liberating students from time and location. NKI reaches far to place student needs in the centre; one example is the students? opportunity to enroll anytime during the year.

NKI has given other educational institution in Norway something to reach for regarding learning methods and flexibility. I hope NKI continues its development of the Norwegian educational common on the Internet, and wish NKI a successful anniversary.
Øystein Djupedal
Minister of Education and Research

Ingeborg Bø
Former President of Norwegian Norwegian Association for Distance Education and
European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN)
Congratulations with the anniversary!

You may be especially proud of your achievements during you first 20 years as an online college. NKI has all the time been a pioneer in online education and at the same time been able to develop cost-effective solutions and introduced them in large-scale operations.

NKI has offered a large number of people opportunities to acquire an education they else would not be able to obtain. I know that most NKI-students are busy people with job- and family responsibilities and that most of them choose NKI's online courses because of the unique flexibility. I will however especially mention the important social contributions NKI has achieved through the adaptation of its courses for students with disabilities, Norwegians abroad, women who care for children and elderly, inmates in prisons, and especially all those who have so depressing educational experiences that they never more will enter a class room.

I would also focus on NKI's impressive list of merits which shows that NKI:

  • Was the first European institution to offer online distance education
  • Is one of Europe's largest providers of online distance education
  • Has a developed a special system for individual progress planning and supervision which has attracted substantial interest in the international field of online education
  • Received the international Boldic Award in 2007 for development of the innovative Learning Partner Service
  • Received the Rosing Competence Award in 2003

NKI may be proud its achievements during the past 20 years, and I hope that the authorities will increase their support to this form of online education in the future.

I congratulate Nettskolen with its 20th anniversary. I applaud Morten Flate Paulsen for his foresight and continuous contribution to the advancement of online education in Norway.

In the mid-eighties, I was Dean of Datahøgskolen, which was owned by NKI. Morten was one of my close colleagues. He came up with the idea of developing an online education service. NKI was one of the leading correspondence schools in Norway and Datahøgskolen had a milieu interested in various applications for information and communication technology, so his proposal was not far fetched. Still, it was a very creative initiative. We must remember that this was long before Internet and e-mail were commonplace. Dedicated learning management software had to be developed. Together with students at Datahøgskolen, Morten designed the learning management system EKKO for Datahøgskolen's mini computer.
Morten promoted a virtual school and a virtual classroom; he argued that we should develop an electronic college that should be available independent of time and space. He had to endure many wisecracks for introducing the term virtual, meaning imaginary as opposed to real, but as a genuine founder with unfaltering belief in his ideas, he carried on. Because of his efforts, NKI and Datahøgskolen were able to introduce electronic distance education.

I encouraged Morten to pursue further academic studies in the field, and he received a doctoral degree in the US. He has contributed to develop online distance education to an academic field, and he is appointed professor of online education.

I congratulate you and wish further progress for NKI's online education which presents flexible solutions for people who want to study.

Erling S. Andersen
Professor of Project Management and Information Systems,
BI Norwegian School of