In mid-August The Open University was again ranked among the top three UK universities for student satisfaction in the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) National Student Survey of 265, 000 final-year students studying at 154 universities and 99 further education colleges. The response rate of 65% – the highest rate in the seven years that the NSS has been running. A third of students (32%) were unhappy with the level of assessment and feedback they received, while a quarter (25%) criticised the organisation and management of their course and 10% of UK students were disatisfied with the quality of their qualifications.
The private Buckingham University, the Open University (which is listed as England), Oxford, St Andrews and St Mary’s University College Belfast, all had satisfaction rates of 93%. The OU thus maintains the place it has held since 2005 when the annual Survey was launched. In 2010 Buckingham University received the top overall satisfaction ratings overall rating, 95%, and the OU (registered as an English institution) came in with Oxford University and Medway School of Pharmacy at 93%.
Prior to this survey there were surveys of those who had graduated from the OU. A glance at the data which covers the period between 1975 and 1989 indicates that over 70% felt that they derived ‘great’ or ‘enormous’ benefit from their time as OU students. Over 80% felt that the OU had had a good impact on them ‘as leaners’ and ‘as a person’ and more than 50% noted the effect on their careers and on them as ‘members of society’. Many changed jobs or used it as a springboard for further training. The percentage of graduates who felt that the OU had a had a good effect on their social and family lives was smaller than the percentage who felt that it had had a detrimental impact, an indication of the demands that years of study made on people. If you have a tale of the impact of the OU, you can record it here.