The Scottish Common Higher Open Learning and Access Resources (SCHOLAR) Forum

What is this?

The SCHOLAR Forum was launched in June 2000 at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Heriot-Watt was the lead body in the Forum. SCHOLAR provided online educational materials and teaching (supported by printed material) in the form of a ‘virtual college’. These included texts, assessments, simulations, animations, interactive tutorials and online discussion groups at Advanced Higher and Higher Level in a number of subjects. More generally it aimed to ease the transition from secondary school to further and higher education and to help with more self-directed learning. FLaT involvement?

FLaT support was provided to further develop and distribute online and paper-based materials at Higher level in Maths, Computing, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. We also supported the development of links with Learning & Teaching Scotland’s Open, Flexible & Distance Learning in National Qualifications (OFDL) Project. Links with National Priorities?

  1. Achievement & Attainment
  2. Framework for Learning
  3. Learning for Life.

Project aims?

Project outcomes?


The project was started in 1999 and was completed in August 2002. From small beginnings with 4 local authorities and 6 colleges it went on to involve all 32 authorities, 12 colleges and 15 independent schools. With 57,600 registered users it was one of the largest e-learning programmme in the world. It is now self-sustaining receiving a free licence to use the material from Heriot-Watt University and being financed on a subscription basis with each local authority contributing according to their participation. It is now managed within Interactive University which is the Scottish HE centre of excellence in e-learning. Further development has started with Advanced Higher French and options in Biology.

Level of Support?

FLaT support was a grant of £700,000 plus phase two evaluation costs.

Who are the evaluation team?

University of Strathclyde Quality in Education Centre

Team Leaders - Dr. Kay Livingston & Dr. Rae Condie

What they looked at?

The impact on the quality of the learning and teaching experience and the impact on student achievement and completion within the founding partner organisations. The impact of SCHOLAR on organisational processes including curriculum planning for partner institutions. The impact of SCHOLAR on the number and quality of Scottish applicants to Scottish Universities.