Colleges should consider accrediting web-based programs offered at free or low-cost online schools, making higher education more widely available to populations with little access to post-secondary classes, a former official from the United Kingdom's Open University told a gathering of technology advocates Nov. 6.

Brenda Gourley, vice-chancellor of The Open University from 2002-2009 and a longtime advocate for education's role in social justice, spoke to hundreds of IT professionals at the annual EDUCAUSE conference in Denver, which ran from Nov. 3-6.

Gourley, who became South Africa's first female vice-chancellor in 1994, stressed that colleges and universities that cannot afford to launch web-based


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