From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
NKS Nettstudier (NKS, English: NKS Distance Education) is a non-profit private educational institution in Norway, accredited by the Norwegian Government. NKS offers courses at secondary and tertiary level to adults. NKS courses are aimed at the continuing and further education market, and to some extent also at students seeking an ordinary (basic) education and.
NKS is a single mode distance education provider. It was founded in 1914 and is the oldest distance education institution in Norway. It has 16 full-time employees and 60 part-time.
Its web site is at http://www.nks.no/ - but note that there appears to be no material in English on this site.
(sourced from http://nettskolen.nki.no/in_english/megatrends/NKS_Article.pdf see Reports heading later in this page)
NKS was originally based on correspondence teaching for several decades.
Recently, NKS has been in the forefront of using new technologies. For example, a few years after television broadcasting started in Norway, NKS started to produce education programmes in cooperation with the Norwegian National Broadcasting (NRK). In the 1980s, NKS participated in a consortium with several other stakeholders in the field, such as NKI and the national telecommunication company. Here the aim was to run test projects with different technologies, such as satellite communication. The consortium was terminated around 1990.
Around 1987/1988 a project applying a predecessor of the Internet was launched. The system developed, called PortaCOM, was not applied broadly in the institution and can be viewed as a test project. Although considerable numbers of students used PortaCOM, teaching still relied largely on a first-generation (correspondence) or second generation (radio and TV based distance education) model.
Ordinary use of the Internet started around 1997/1998 when some of the NKS courses were made available on the web. The first LMS, which NKS still uses, was introduced in 2000. This system is called Luvit, and NKS was one of the owners of the system (one of the other owners were the Lund University in Sweden). With this, third generation distance education was established at NKS.
Since then, the number of students in web based courses has increased steadily, and today numbers 3000-4000 per year (6000-8000 course enrolments). NKS still offers correspondence teaching. The number of correspondence students has decreased during the last years, and now numbers around 2000 students per year (around 4000 course enrolments).
During the 1980s and 1990s, the total number of students decreased substantially at NKS. For example, in 1976 the institution had had around 100,000 course enrolments. The high numbers were largely a result of cooperation with education organisations that organised face-to-face meetings in blended learning models. In addition, the government funded a large part of the course fees. The decline stopped after year 2000 and during the last few years number of students have been constant or increased slightly. The increases have been totally due to growth in number of online students.
Existing case study
NKS was a case study for the MegaTrends project. The 6-page document NKS interview for the Mega Trends project makes informative reading. There is a companion paper also at http://nettskolen.nki.no/in_english/megatrends/NKS_Article.pdf which touches on critical success factors.
PortaCOM and later systems used at NKS
This institution/programme was discussed as a case study in the Megatrends project in its second report, Megaproviders of e-learning in Europe (PDF - 212 pages - EN), 2007 (ISBN 978 82 562 88184).