10 March 2011 12:00 AM
Some students never set foot in a lecture theatre. They never pace the library aisles, queue for a computer or struggle to get their voices heard at a seminar. In fact, some students manage to complete their degrees without so much as leaving their homes – and, according to Julie Stone, business development manager at the University of Derby, they are among the most dedicated. "Learning online requires commitment," she says. "When we started developing online programmes, in 2001, it was a marginal activity because there simply weren't the students." That changed in 2008, when applications suddenly flooded in – there are now about 1,500 online students on Derby's books. "We anticipate significant growth over the next five years," says Stone. "We're investing in online education as a core part of our business."