The University collaborates with a variety of third parties to widen access and participation in higher education. Partnerships types can be summarised as:
Quality assurance arrangements differ for each kind of partnership, as outlined below:
Validation is available to institutions through a partner relationship which requires institutions to demonstrate their ability to assure the quality of their provision. Any organisation offering programmes of study at higher education level (FHEQ Levels 4 - 7) may seek to become approved by the OU and offer programmes leading to its validated awards. Validation is managed by Open University Validation Partnerships (OUVP) in association with faculties. There are separate quality assurance processes for validated provision that are outlined in the OU Handbook for Validated Awards (pdf 1.3mb).
Curriculum partnerships are developed and managed in faculties, supported by teams in the nation offices where appropriate. Modules and qualifications delivered through curriculum partnerships are subject to standard OU quality assurance processes. The central management and oversight of curriculum partnerships, including the maintenance of a register for collaborative provision, is undertaken by OUVP through its Curriculum Partnerships Management Group.
The overall authority for approving and reviewing validated partner institutions, approving curriculum partnerships, and the approval (validation) and re-approval (revalidation) of validated programmes rests with Senate and is exercised through the Education Committee via the Curriculum Partnerships Committee.
The University’s Research partnership types include cotutelle agreements, doctoral training partnerships and industrial partnerships. The primary programme of research degree partnership is through the Affiliated Research Centre (ARCs) programme. There are separate approval, monitoring and review processes for ARCs that are managed by the Research Degrees team.
Articulation Agreements are owned and managed by the Recognition of Prior Learning team. All agreements are approved at faculty Teaching Committees and Curriculum Partnerships Committee at institutional level. Processes for monitoring and review are currently under development.