Interview: Rosie Phipps Talks About Online Education and Distance Learning

As the power of the web strengthens, more and more educational institutions are going online, as they look to solve the fragmentation of the industry.  Here, Rosie Phipps of the Oxford College of Marketing and Oxford Learning Labs, talks to The NextWomen about online education, male:female trends and living with too many ideas.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I trained as a pharmacist before going into market research and marketing with Sterling Winthrop and Beecham products. I managed and lectured Chartered Institute of Marketing courses for many years at the Oxford College of Further Education where my students achieved record passes. I have the Professional Postgraduate Diploma In Marketing, am a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and have have trained at the Tavistock clinic in individual, group and organisational behaviour. I am co-author of the Chartered Institute of Marketing texts: Understanding Customers and The Marketing/Customer Interface (Butterworth Heinemann), and wrote the BBC book - Start Your Own Business. Other books include: Coming up Trumps, the first cartooned book for young people on how to get a job and set up in business;  another for BBC books on starting a business; one for the Department of Transport on how to ride a bicycle called Keep on the Safe Side and various guide books for Pitkin on Windsor Castle and Shakespeare in Stratford and Bath.

I have also been a Councillor on Oxford City Council and am a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.In my free time I enjoy painting and even painted the brand image for the college.

You are founder of the Oxford College of marketing, can you tell me what your site offers?

The Oxford College of Marketing offers an Introductory Certificate in Marketing, Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) professional qualifications, Graduate Foundation Programme and public short marketing training courses. Oxford College of Marketing has locations throughout the UK and Worldwide via our online distance learning.

The Oxford College of Marketing is a private college owned and managed by professional marketers for marketers! This means we very much pride ourselves on running a business that is focused totally on the needs of our customers

How did you come up with the idea and why online?

I worked for a local college and was always fighting for professional marketing  lecturers and resources to support the  students and got fed up with the arguments and stupidly. As my courses were getting top results in the country I thought I would run them myself and provide students with the resources that I wanted to give them.

It just happened to occur when the internet was getting going, working in a fragmented industry meant that I could overcome the causes of fragmentation and create one system.

So I got myself an email account, registered the college, got a website, got some advice on how to get on the first page,  and as soon as Blackboard came on line used them to facilitate the students learning.

Has entrepreneurship always been in your blood?

Yes – it has – I'm too full of ideas.

What is the most popular course on your site?

Students enrol on all our courses in the following breakdown:

Introductory Certificate - 10% of our students

Professional Certificate - 20% of our students

Professional Diploma - 50% of our students

Professional Postgraduate Diploma - 20% of our students


Have you noticed any male:female trends in your users?

Yes women tend to do the course – about 80%. This has changed from when I first started in marketing, when the female presence was very low.  In 1972 I was told I was one of the first examples of positive discrimination when I got a job in marketing  at what was then called Beecham Products.

You are also a partner of the Oxford Learning Lab, can you tell me a little about the site?

Internet has paved the way for information flowing freely around the world. The most famous, Wikipedia, is now the 7th most visited website in the world.

Despite this massive availability of free education, high-quality teachers are still a rare commodity, the best of them working for the most famous universities and attracting candidates from across the world.

High-quality education has never been more expensive and difficult to reach. is committed to bridge this growing gap, with a series of top quality videos, created in collaboration with sought after professors.

You are currently working with Giorgio Burlini to film marketing authors for the site. How is this going and how do you see it evolving your site in the future?

I can see my college  using this resource  now running at to provide extra benefits to our students. Oxford College of Marketing students will all be getting included in their resources on Blackboard  access to the existing Professor Malcolm Mc Donald videos.  We can only add benefits to our students by providing this material. We are the only serious marketing site like this around. And Chris Fill will be making the next videos on Corporate Communication. We have some top names lined up.

How do you see the future of online teaching?

This can only grow – we use online resources for all our students it does not matter if they are part time, weekend and distance learning.  Students now have to use masses of sources of information. They have to learn how to discriminate between the rubbish around on the web and the gems that are around. This is a complete change of learning. This is why the e learning component is so important.  A great combination – a bit of tutor support and a bit of e learning support and a few books. What a combination. Gone are the days of one tutor and one book!

The learning we provide  is totally directed – and when you are teaching professionals who work during the day, they do not have time to go running around. We have everything there for them so they can just concentrate on the task – passing exams, getting to know how to do a better job, improve their prospects to get a better job and earn a better living. .

Interesting angle on the site as a whole, well done girls. Good to see education getting a slot

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