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What is distance learning?
Support and the OU community

Support and the OU community

If you think distance learning means studying alone, think again. When you study with us, you'll gain access to the UK's largest student community.

Whatever your needs may be, we’re here to support you.

Students working together

Module forums

Each module you study will have dedicated forums. While you’ll mostly use them to discuss topics about your module or complete group work, you can always use them to ask for a bit of input when you’re stuck. Module tutors will engage with and moderate the forums as well, so they can join in if they need to.

Student Support Team

You’ll have access to a subject-specific Student Support Team. If you have any general questions about your study, or are struggling and need to talk through your options, they're there for you.

Additional needs

We’re committed to making study accessible to all, whether you have a disability, health condition, mental health difficulty, or a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia). When you sign up for a qualification or module, we’ll ask you to let us know about any additional circumstances that may impact on your studies. The support we can offer you will depend on the modules you choose to take, but our services include:

  • Accessible study materials.
  • Specialist equipment.
  • Tailored assessment.
  • Residential schools support.
  • Additional support accessing tutorials and day schools.
  • Financial help.

You can find more information about our support on our disability support page.

Open University Students Association (OUSA)

OUSA’s mission is to be the community and voice for all OU students.

As an OU student you’ll automatically be a member of OUSA. Through OUSA, you can attend or create local meet-ups, join a club or society, or get extra help and support from your fellow students.

Juggling study alongside other responsibilities can be challenging – but you’re not alone. OUSA offers a variety of resources, guides and helpline services.

Find out more about opportunities, events and support on the OUSA website.


Get involved in the study forums, both the official ones and the ones run by the Students Assocation. Also keep in mind you are not alone, there are many other students out there going through the same process and probably feeling the same way you do.

Caroline Cowan, BSc Psychology

One of the things that always pulled me through was the support of other students. They say distance learning can be a lonely journey, but along the way I met so many wonderful people and felt a great sense of community.

Peter Cowan, BA (Hons) Open

Other ways to connect

Connect on social media

You can follow us and join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Or you could join one of the many informal Facebook groups set up by students.


Student Hub Live

Student Hub Live is a series of online interactive events open to the whole OU community. You can put your questions and comments directly to guests in the studio.


Network with staff and students

Whether you’ve completed your studies or you’re just beginning, there are lots of like-minded staff, students and alumni to connect with on LinkedIn.