The development of information technology (IT) networks in the delivery of a range of material to learners in higher education is explored. Factors which influence the application of IT are described and learner characteristics and needs are enumerated. The range of learning material appropriate to, and the mechanisms for, IT delivery are examined. Some examples of provision are noted. Strategic issues and the strengths and weaknesses of networked access are analysed. Prospects for developing systems and the requirements are discussed. The results of a small scale survey of provision in academic institutions are reported and discussed in a second part of the paper.
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