25 Years of OU – 2019: The Open Programme

Professor Martin Weller is the Chair of the Open Board of Studies for the Open Programme which resides in and is supported by the Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation team in PVC Students.

My advice is have a Bryan Mathers graphic for every point you want to make.

In 2019 I became the Director of the Open programme at the Open University. The open programme covers our ‘Open’ qualifications, such as the Open degree. When the OU was founded, you could only get an open degree, there were no named ones. This was part of the deliberate policy to imagine a new type of university and education. The OU’s first VC, Walter Perry put it like this: Continue reading

Speaking about the bespoke: what the Open Programme offers students

Liz Vosper, an Open degree graduate and member of staff, reflects on a session which was part of Student Voice Week that explored what the Open Programme is; what it offers; how we create and support a sense of belonging and community; where to find resources to help; and how we can support students now and in the future. This session took place on the on 17th November, led by Jay Rixon, Qualification Manager for the MA/MSc Open. 

What the Open Programme is and what it offers

The Open Programme offers you the chance to study a range of subjects and create a bespoke qualification that reflects your personal or professional interests and aspirations. Think pick ‘n’ mix – you can savour the delights of the caramel swirl and avoid the coffee creams! Okay, probably not the best analogy I’ve used as it might need a little more thought than that, but you get the idea. And like pick ‘n’ mix, the Open Programme offers a great selection too! Continue reading

What’s next? The series finale…

Helen Cooke is a Senior Manager in the Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation team in PVC Students and responsible for the day-to-day running of the Open Programme. She is a Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE, based on her work supporting multidisciplinary students in an online environment.

Way back at the end of March (remember those pre-lockdown days…?), our eminent Director of the Open Programme, Professor Martin Weller, sensibly suggested that we should run a weekly drop-in session for students in response to the disruption caused by COVID-19. Less sensible, we thought, was his suggestion that the focus of the conversation could be on toilet roll hoarding and stockpiling pasta… Continue reading

Pods, Blogs & Vlogs!

The session on 14th July was led by Jay Rixon, Senior Manager in Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation alongside our guest, Finlay Games.  Finn is an LGBTQ+ Youtuber, blogger, and Motivational Speaker and is currently studying Psychology and Creative Writing with The Open University. 

One of the blessings during lockdown is access to a wealth of information online. Blogs, vlogs, and podcasts can help us to feel connected to others, to find information and support, and are a way to spend our time. My name is Finlay Games and on the 14th July I joined Jay Rixon for an Open Programme student/staff drop-in session, to chat all things vlogs, blogs, and podcasts.

The session began with a discussion about what everyone was watching, reading, and listening to. People also spoke about how they discovered content, with some following specific people and others following particular topics. Continue reading

Four Famous Poems- A Reflective Discussion

Jay Rixon is a Senior Manager in Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation and responsible for the MA or MSc Open qualification. In this post, Jay reflects on a staff-student online drop-in session titled ‘Four Famous Poems – a literary discussion’ held on Tuesday 30th June 2020.

In the session, Jay was joined by Dr John Butcher, Director of Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation who led the discussion.



Our drop-in sessions were created as a response to going into lockdown.  They were intended to be an antidote to the challenging news at the time and an opportunity to explore and wallow in well-known topics and enjoy a community of people who value learning across a range of subjects. We have explored many topics in these online sessions, from music, film, books, TV and art among many others. For this occasion, the topic of poetry was selected, and four poems were chosen to be delved into, explored and examined. Continue reading

Four Famous Artworks- a creative discussion

Jay Rixon is a Senior Manager in Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation and responsible for the MA or MSc Open qualification. In this post, Jay reflects on a staff-student online drop-in session titled ‘Four Famous Artworks – a creative discussion’ session held on Tuesday 16th June 2020. 


Image of four famous artworks

In our student and staff Open Programme drop-in sessions we have covered many a key topic such as music, books, films, TV, travel, pastimes/hobbies and food among other themes, and for this week’s session our spotlight landed on the world of art.

We chose to spend our Adobe Connect session focusing on four famous artworks: exploring the paintings, the artists who created them, and delving into the back story behind each piece.

Continue reading