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Online university opens doors in Japan

Japan's Cyber University promises rigorous courses in two faculties.

This time of year in Japan is traditionally marked by a national obsession with the blossom of sakura cherry trees and also the start of a new school year. The trees are currently in bloom as usual but this week sees the country's only online university open its doors to students for the first time.

Fukuoka's Cyber University has accepted over 1,000 students in just two faculties - IT and Business or World Heritage - both of which offer Japan's typical four-year undergraduate courses.

Quality control

Unlike unscrupulous online 'institutes' in the West, the Cyber University will be subject to strict quality controls imposed by law as it disseminates its brand of pedagogy via pre-recorded video lectures and other downloads.

The technology connections run deeper than the courses and methods - the college is run by Japan Cyber Educational Institute, a subsidiary of Softbank , owner of the third-largest mobile phone network in the country. Perhaps students signing up for a long-term commitment will get a free PhD and a Bluetooth headset thrown in?