The Helpdesk provide technical support for course related software (over 400 applications) and we can assist you with queries associated with your Open University computer username (OUCU) and password when accessing our online services.
We support the University's conferencing system, Elluminate and the various VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) tools i.e. the Audio Recording Tool, Blogs etc, and also the electronic assessment handling system eTMA.
Queries relating to how software is used for your course should be referred to your Associate Lecturer or Staff Tutor in the first instance. The Helpdesk can assist you with installing software, but not with course related study or queries relating to your internet connection.
We do not offer support with formatting hard drives, installing hardware or operating systems, these kind of enquiries should be referred to a qualified computer engineer.
We cannot help with general IT questions about using word processing packages like Word or help in using your other components on your PC like anti-virus software.
Which version of Windows?
The Helpdesk will endeavour to give the best possible assistance to Students and Associate Lecturers, whatever version of Windows is being used. However, the software used in Open University courses has only been extensively tested with XP and Vista. Therefore, the Helpdesk cannot always offer the same level of support with other operating systems such as Win 2000 and Win ME, and Windows 98 but will do our utmost to resolve problems, where possible, with OU packages on these environments.
Microsoft have a version of Windows, called Windows Vista. The hardware requirement for this is quite demanding so installing it on PCs older then 3 years ago might impair usability. To make it more complicated there are at least three variants of Vista that are aimed at home users. Although the processor speed of our basic specification is satisfactory for the Windows Vista Home Basic, it requires much more memory - 512 MB and possibly a better video card. The Home Premium and Ultimate versions are even more demanding. Obviously, if you purchase a computer which has Vista pre-installed your supplier should provide one that is suitable but please check.
The Open University is testing its course software for compatibility with Windows Vista. We don't expect any problems, but will make arrangements if any updates are required for students using this operating system
Microsoft’s newest operating system is Windows 7. Windows 7 is designed to be less demanding of your pc’s memory then Windows Vista but is based on the Vista operating system. During the initial few months of its introduction to the market place please bear with as we learn about it ourselves but be assured we will as always do our utmost to resolve queries regarding OU installs on this operating system. It will take time for our many 100s of computing materials to be retrospectively tested on this operating system so we cannot say for certain that all of our disks will be compatible with this operating system. However as Windows 7 is based on Vista we expect problems with compatibility to be highly unlikely.
Please also note that if you have 64 bit versions of Windows Vista or Windows 7 then you may also experience further problems with older versions of our software. As with standard 32 bit Windows Vista and Windows 7 we are currently testing our software retrospectively on 64 bit systems as well but again this will take time to complete but should you have any problems then please contact the Helpdesk for advice.
If you decide to use a system other than a Windows-based PC, you may have problems accessing the software and data files supplied with study materials. The technical help offered by the OU Computing Helpdesk will be limited, so you should make sure that you have some other form of support in case you run into difficulties.
We only provide limited support on a best endeavours basis for Apple Macs. Many students use a Mac successfully to study with the University. However, at present, they accept responsibility for their own support.
Linux and other platforms
We are unable to provide any support for Linux and other operating systems and can’t guarantee any of our software will work on these systems.