Archive for the ‘Internal organisation’ Category

The OU in Europe

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Changes proposed to how the OU organises its student support in Europe have made for some controversial headlines in the Times Higher and has led some to ask about the roots of The Open University’s operations there.

Some information about the University’s overseas activities are available on The History of the OU website.

The OU has been teaching within the UK since 1971 and in other parts of Europe since 1972. The arrangements for teaching students outside the UK have undergone several changes in that time.

Between 1972 and 1992, the University served three broad categories of student studying within the wider Europe: those starting their studies in the UK, those admitted under ‘special schemes’ in the Benelux countries and in the Republic of Ireland; and Services personnel and their families admitted under special schemes in Germany and Cyprus. In 1992 when the European Single Market was introduced, the University extended direct entry to any person domiciled in the EU and in other parts of western Europe. (more…)

Educational Futures Thematic Research Network

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The OU has a new thematic research network, Educational Futures. The Educational Futures network draws upon the university’s distinctive engagement with understanding new forms of technological engagement, digital literacies, creativity, educational dialogues, professional identity, pedagogy, international teacher education, learning in non-formal spaces and the development of new research methodologies.

An element of this network is the History of the OU Project because to understand where we’d like to go we need to assess where we’ve come from.  As Arthur Marwick, 1936-2006, first Professor of History, The Open University noted on 24 November 1994 in the THES

We study history because of the desperate importance of the human past: what happened in the past… governs the world we live in today, and created the many problems which beset us … To change the world, we have first to understand it.

This project can help make connections and ensure that network bids are strengthened by reference to the long-standing traditions, assumptions and values of the OU. Longitudinal studies are possible here as they are not elsewhere because the OU has over 40 years of pedagogy including TV footage and course materials in the archives while other universities don’t even have collections of lecture notes from the past. The status and relevance of the OU has dramatically changed over the last half century but popular images, often reliant on stereotypes about kipper ties, remain. Through an understanding of the past the HOTOUP can take education forwards.

An Open and Shut Case

Friday, February 11th, 2011

The UCU (University and College Union) recently commissioned a report, Universities at risk. The impact of cuts in higher education spending on local economies, which concluded that across England, 49 universities were at risk of closure and that, of all the pre-92 universities, the OU is most at risk. It features in the list of 22 HEIs at ‘high medium’ level of potential impact from the proposals made in the Browne Review (2010), Securing a sustainable future for higher education. This means that the OU has at least eight of the maximum of 12 ‘risk’ points. A recent survey of university leaders revealed that nine out of ten expect an institution to close due to financial pressures. The OU has faced the possibility of closure before. In the past it rallied students and staff to defend it. (more…)

Seasonal gloom

Friday, October 1st, 2010

In 1982 Open House reported that a fire in the Disabled Students Office, which caused £1,000 worth of damage, resulted from two Christmas puddings being placed on a Braille duplicating machine to heat up (Open House 196 February 1982).

Former Vice-Chancellor and gowns

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

‘When the UK Open University was established its creators, in the free-wheeling and informal spirit of the 1960s, proposed that it dispense with the academic traditions of gowns and convocation ceremonies. The first students, however, quickly disabused the OU of that idea, arguing that since they had studied long and hard they wanted to be recognised as graduates with “the Full Monty” of gowns and regalia. The only concession to modernity – for which I was grateful when I officiated at over a hundred degree ceremonies as vice-chancellor – was that they would not wear hats.’ This from here

Early research on the student population

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Learning in an Open World online only conference

Monday, June 14th, 2010
As knowing where we are going, or might go, can help provide a new perspective on where we’ve come from, this conference, 22nd to 23rd June 2010 could help. It is 9am to 5pm and online

There is a blog by organiser Matin Weller here and the programme is here

The OU has a conference every year to share practice and research around learning and technology. This year the event is completely online and open to all. The event will take place across 2 days (22nd and 23rd June), with the synchronous presentations being held in Elluminate and asynchronous discussion held in Cloudworks.

The theme of the conference is ‘Openness in education’ and in keeping with that theme it is open to everyone, not just OU staff. It is an opportunity to engage in dialogue around the four main themes of open content, teaching, learning and access.

If you are interested in ‘attending’ some or all of the conference, please go to the Cloudworks site and also check there for up to date information about the programme, practice sessions and call for contributions. You will need to register on Cloudworks to add any content and to indicate you are attending.

Contributions will be in a web format, such as YouTube, Slideshare, Animoto, which might result in a broader audience, able to engage with the projects and ideas within the Open University, and a discussion which will aid the University in its exploration of the theme of open education.

Everything changes?

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

The Vice-Chancellor’s report of 1980 tells readers that a review had been set up ‘to help the University achieve a redirection of effort to higher priority activities, if necessary over a period of years rather than months, at a time, nationally, of static or reduced funding.’

The report tells us ‘staff would need to accept significant changes to their job specifications’. Other proposals included a possible redefinition of activities in the regions (sic) and review of the Institute of Educational Technology.