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A community of brave learners

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Promotional image for The Open Programme. Originally created by Bryan Mathers (Visual Thinkery) and used here under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Image : Brave Learners
Date: 2019

We recognise that studying in a multidisciplinary way is far from being an ‘easy option’. In fact, we consider all of our multidisciplinary students to be ‘brave’ learners; pushing the boundaries of traditional subject-focused education and using their own knowledge and experience to direct their course of study.

Embracing the ‘space between’

In a world where students are able to choose their own pathway through a qualification, it is crucial to offer a space between their modules where they can connect with other students and reflect on their qualification aims. Helping multidisciplinary students navigate through such a wide and complex range of choices at any institution clearly requires appropriate, tailored and timely advice and guidance. At traditional face-to-face universities, students value the fact that they usually have a physical, geographical campus to meet fellow students and staff.  However, there are additional challenges associated with developing and supporting a virtual community of multidisciplinary students studying at a distance learning institution, as well as studying outside of the usual structure of a specified series of modules with a subject focus.

This is especially true in the case of the OU’s Open Programme – a community comprising over 20,000 students, all from different backgrounds, with varied levels of digital literacy and with very different subject, study and career motivations – where students rarely have the opportunity to meet in a face-to-face environment.

“In the early days, it was recognised that our students, particularly as adults, are not blank canvases on which we paint. They bring with them a multitude of skills and knowledge from their life, from their interests, from their work, and they want to do modules that reinforce and help develop those areas to help them meet their goals. These students are brave students, not for them the well-trodden path of a named degree, they plough their own furrow.” (Peter Taylor, 2019)

The Open Programme team seeks to provide opportunities for multidisciplinary students to embrace the space between their modules in creative and interactive approaches.

A community of brave learners (page 1 of 5)