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The first 10 years 1969-1979

(page 3 of 5)
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Clip: Inventing ways of teaching
Duration: 00:01:40
Clip: Student applications 1970
Duration: 00:00:27
Date: 1979

Between the Royal Charter being awarded in April 1969 and the target date for teaching to start in January 1971, there were just 18 months to set up the complex administrative system and design the first four courses.

In the first clip on this page, Professor Michael 'Mike' Pentz (1924-1995), the first Dean of Science, describes the invention of course teams, computer marked assignments (CMAs) and the challenge of providing science equipment to the new students, in the form of home experiment kits (HEKs).

The staff of the new university needed to be innovative to ensure students received the equipment and materials they needed to study higher education at a distance. Among the many items in the first science home experiment kit was the McArthur microscope, a small, compact microscope that could be easily sent to students as part of the kit. The OU version of the microscope was specially adapted in plastic to make it lighter and cheaper to produce. More information about the McArthur microscope can be found on the featured item page. 


It was unknown just how many people would be interested in studying with the new university. 25,000 places were available for students to study in the first year.

The second clip on this page shows some of the printing and warehousing infrastructure the university developed in the early days, while describing the number of enquiries and applications the University received for the first available places in 1971.

The first 10 years 1969-1979 (page 3 of 5)