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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

The Open University Students Association is a lot like a student union. Run by students, for students, it gives you access to our services and resources, alongside opportunities to connect with other students. You're automatically a member when you study with the OU, and there’s no fee.

The Students Association exists to help you make the most of your time studying, promote your interests and ensure the OU is more than just a place of learning – it’s a student community.

Led by a brilliant team of elected students and supported by hundreds more student volunteers, the Association:

  • offers student support services and resources
  • creates opportunities to engage in a vibrant and inclusive student community
  • is a robust, effective and accountable representative body for all OU students
  • works in partnership with the OU to enhance your student experience.

Whether you’re looking for like-minded students, interest groups, support services or a way to make a real difference, you’ll discover something for you. To find out more, visit oustudents.com.

Student Voice

Listening to your views and creating opportunities for you to get involved in OU decision-making help ensure the student experience is the best it can be and meets your needs. We offer you the chance to make a difference and develop new skills – from surveys to student panels to working directly with staff on new curriculum and services.

You can find out more, including the impact previous student feedback has had, on our Student Voice website.

Student Charter

The Open University’s Student Charter sets out how we work together as an academic community. It highlights our expectations of both students and staff and our commitment to enabling high-quality learning and ensuring every student is supported.

 

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

Getting involved with the Students Association has enhanced my study journey, helped me develop my skills for employment and supported me in making life-long friends.

Fanni Zombor, BA (Hons) Business Management

I’ve found that studying at a distance with the OU has been challenging, but incredibly worthwhile. I’ve seen how it has improved my educational experience and that of my peers. The Students Association helped me find a community and has ensured that my study journey is as beneficial and positive as possible.

Sarah Jones, Masters in Education

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.