News from Princeton University
Office of Communications
Stanhope Hall
Princeton, New Jersey 08544-5264

For immediate release: November 8, 2001

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601,

Princeton decides not to continue in the Alliance for Life-Long Learning

Princeton, N.J. -- Princeton University, one of the founding members of the University Alliance for Life-Long Learning, has decided not to continue as a member of the alliance beyond the current first phase of the organization's development.

"Our work with the alliance in putting some of our courses online has been a helpful experience," said Amy Gutmann, Princeton's provost and one of its representatives on the alliance board of directors. "We wish the alliance much success as it continues to evolve, and we will maintain our initial courses online with the alliance. At the same time, we have decided to proceed in a way that provides broad access to electronic learning materials and courseware on a non-proprietary basis. We will pursue this course under the leadership of our new vice president for information technology, Betty Leydon."

Leydon, who arrived on campus last June, said, "Princeton plans to work on the development of non-proprietary technology tools that will enhance our ability to make an array of online teaching resources widely available and to deliver academically innovative instruction, not only to our own students, but to a much broader audience that includes our alumni, the higher education community and others interested in the pursuit of knowledge."

Leydon added that "two particular areas of focus will be the development of open-source software tools to facilitate the archiving, searching, retrieving and delivering of multimedia learning materials -- tools that make it easier to use technology in the classroom -- and online initiatives to make a large number of Princeton classroom and public lectures and other materials broadly available using streaming video and interactive software tools."

Yale University President Richard Levin, chair of the alliance board, said, "I want to thank Princeton for the many ideas and materials that it has contributed to our collaboration."

The alliance was formed in February 2000 by Oxford, Princeton, Stanford and Yale universities to provide online courses in the arts and sciences to their combined 500,000 alumni. Twelve courses of varying lengths and formats, representing each of the four schools, are currently being tested by alumni from the four schools in preparation for the development and distribution of a much larger number of courses as the alliance enters the second phase of its development later this year. The alliance is also developing other educational offerings, including book clubs, discussion groups and directories of online educational resources that it hopes to offer to a wide audience.