Archive for October 1st, 2010

Opening Up The Open University: registration opens

Friday, October 1st, 2010

On Wednesday 3 November the History of The Open University Project is hosting a workshop to reflect on The Open University’s development and its place in and contribution to wider society. 

Contributors come from a range of disciplines and from both inside and outside the University. Subjects to be addressed include the development of technology and pedagogy, the success of the University in widening participation and the role of the BBC. There will also be a contribution from the University’s Oral History Project.

The workshop is open to all but limited by space. Those who wish to attend are asked to register in advance by email to by 27 October 2010.

More information is available here.

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).

The BBC move to Walton Hall

Friday, October 1st, 2010

In August 1976 Michael Drake asked why, in  view of the reluctance of many of the BBC staff to move to Milton Keynes, the OU could not work with ITV instead (Open House, 31 August 1976)? Despite this possibility being raised the BBC continued to be unhappy about moving the OU operations from Alexandra Palace to Milton Keynes. The argument was made that this was because this would adversely affect the relationship between the OU and the BBC. Deputy General Secretary ABS, P Leech, felt that the move

would lead to a dominance of BBC staff  by the OU, would lead to a greater involvement in the control over areas of legitimate BBC interest and that a move of this sort would lead to the BBC staff losing their identity with the Corporation (RGJ/JFW 24 April 1977 notes of a meeting of 24 March 1977)

There had been tensions betwen the BBC and the oU and this discussion occured shortly before a dispute between the BBC and the OU about The Balcony (probably Jean Genet’s play, Le Balcon which was set in a brothel). In 1977 the BBC banned this and was rebuked by the Chancellor at the Alexandra Palace degree ceremony (Open House, 24 May 1977,  OH 5 July 1977).

What should the regions do?

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Should the OU be more centralized? Zvi Friedman, who joined the OU in 1970 and was later the Senior Systems Analyst, thought it should: (more…)