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Abstract

Both the potential opportunities and risks for higher education providers in the digital education space are enormous. The EU in its policy paper The Digital Agenda for Europe (2010) sets out inter alia opportunities provided by the digital economy which is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy across the EU. At the same time, an early pioneer of distance learning and digital education, The Open University, is currently experiencing some problems. A recent edition of Times Higher Education (Parr, 19-25 February, 2015, p. 8) reported that the Open University has a £17 m deficit for 2013-14. This is at a time when it invested heavily in FutureLearn, its platform for MOOCs. This paper examines the EU policy, The Digital Agenda for Europe (2010), focusing on Pillar VI: Enhancing digital literacy, skills & inclusion. The paper concludes that the stated objectives are optimistic and the scale of challenges and risks are not fully appreciated.

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