Skip to content

Toggle service links

Different eras

This section contains stories linked to what happened when, including the circumstances that led to The Open University’s foundation in the 1960s; through its teething problems and establishment in the 1970s; survival of massive public sector cuts in the 1980s; and expansion at home and abroad in the 1990s and new century.

More material, particularly related to the later years, will be published as the project continues and contributions are welcomed.

Featured articles

Walter Perry (1921-2003) was the first Vice-Chancellor of the Open University from 1969 to 1979 and...

Personal stories

A mother of four (under six) with no qualifications except nursing (not then counted credit-worthy...

Early distance learning, the new BBC, post-war developments in British higher education and Harold Wilson’s big idea.

Staff at Walton Hall in 1974

Establishment and early years; first students and graduates; the growth of Continuing Education and first steps abroad.

Robotics and computing course materials

Survival despite funding cuts. Changes in the student body, curriculum expansion and the impact of advancing technology.

OU Chancellor Betty Boothroyd presiding at a degree ceremony

Consolidation and advance. Embrace of new technology, expansion of partnerships and an end to course broadcasts.