In the decade or so since distance learning has established itself as a viable way of studying for business qualifications, the techniques - and the business environment - have changed out of all recognition.
In an attempt to respond to those changes, Henley Management College, which has concentrated on middle- and senior-level executives since its foundation in 1945, is modifying its increasingly popular distance learning MBA. From next January, students will be able to take advantage of the latest advances in information technology, a new curriculum and more frequent residential workshops.
As Ian Turner, director of the college's MBA and Diploma by Distance Learning programmes, says: "The workplace has changed so dramatically over the past 10 years, it is absolutely essential that management education keeps pace. The content of our new course has been refocused to reflect these needs."
In particular, modules covering such areas as managing performance, business transformation and strategic direction have been fully updated and extended.
In addition, the college has teamed up with Lotus Notes to provide a means of communication between students, while Internet addresses are included with research material so that students do not have to surf the Net in order to look for relevant material and the content of courses is directed at each student's type of business.
The college says that by offering electronic support it is breaking down the distance barrier for its more than 6,000 distance learning students around the world and providing them with "vital interaction with peers, tutors, Henley staff and other information sources".
With Lotus Notes, the students - who may be studying for a doctor of business administration, and MBA or a diploma in management - have far greater flexibility. They can work on databases offline or they can use a modem to get directly into Henley. They can also send e-mail and discuss matters with faculty as well as do such mundane things as book sessions and order materials.
A further development is the provision of two bursaries designed to encourage more women to join Henley programmes. One of the part-funded scholarships is worth pounds 6,000 or two-thirds of the full fee for the MBA programme and the other, worth pounds 4,000, is for someone who already holds a diploma in management and wants to join the MBA at the strategic level.
The scholarships focus on women in senior management and the successful candidates will be expected to contribute studies to the theme of "Women on the Board"n
Interested applicants for the bursaries should submit a completed application form plus a cv and a formal case outlining their interest in `Women on the Board' in no more than 1,000 words. Applications should be sent to Jill Ford, MBA programmes, Henley Management College, Greenlands, Henley- on-Thames, Oxon RG9 3AU.