30 years of the OU on the TV

Arguing that ‘Three decades of Open University TV broadcasts offer a kind of family album, providing fascinating glimpses of the university’s growth and development as it learned the craft of distance teaching in full public view’ Andy Northedge has produced an analysis of a selection of the OU course materials which were broadcast on the BBC. See Three decades of Open University broadcasts: a review.

2 Responses to “30 years of the OU on the TV”

  1. Roger Mills Says:

    As someone who joined the OU in 1972 as a senior counsellor, I was very interested to read this analysis of the development of teaching and learning through television.
    In the early 1980’s ( I think) Stuart hall produced a manual ‘Learning from Television’ which was used by regional staff to support and encourage students to get the most out of TV programmes.

    Incidentally, I thought T100 ( the technology foundation course) did not come on stream until 1972.

  2. Andy Northedge Says:

    Thanks Roger for your comments and for reminding me about T100 starting a year later. I’ve corrected my report.

    Your mention of a guide to using TV by Stuart Hall rings bells. As an OU tutor-counsellor in the 1970s and 80s I do recall as somewhat unsettling the dynamics of being a ‘teacher’ in a direct, palpable, developing relationship with a student group but having to sit passive and mute for half an hour while upstaged/outranked by ‘celebrity’ teachers on TV. Not a big deal – but odd seeming, when you had the living, breathing learning issues of fascinatingly diverse and stimulating students waiting to be shared and discussed within scarce contact hours. My own sense was that if TV programmes, with all the communicative powers at their command, weren’t effectively enough made to show students directly how to engage with their content, there wasn’t a lot of impact that I could make in trying to redirect them. People seem to have a pretty visceral relationship with TV material, as they view it – which few have the sophistication to self-modify – including myself. There were so many other challenges for students to grapple with – I think upgrading TV viewing skills tended to drop off the agenda. Interesting to be reminded of this.

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