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NEW Digital Archive Exhibition: The Open Programme

An illustration of a spaceman on the moon, looking at the camera. The words 'Open Degree Programme' are written across the helmet visor, and the words 'Since 1969' are written above the spaceman.In 2019, the Open Programme celebrated 50 years of offering OU students the chance to study across a wide choice of subjects, to create a personalised course of study across a range of academic disciplines. 

To mark the milestone celebration, the Open Programme team sought to create an artefact that could be shared with staff and students to celebrate the Open Programme and look forward to the next 50 years!  

Now, in partnership with the Library and the Digital Archives team, they are now pleased to present the Open Programme exhibition. Throughout the pandemic, colleagues from these teams kept working on the exhibition and at the same time, the Open Programme team was also engaging in a six-yearly quality enhancement cycle process known as the Periodic Quality Review (PQR). After an extremely positive review where the team was given Commendations, Affirmations and Recommendations, and have now produced an Action Plan to put aspirational plans for the future in progress, the team feels that now is the right time to launch this exhibition. 

From a single 'General BA' (as the current Open degree was originally known), the Open Programme has developed a full suite of multidisciplinary qualifications and modules – there are now the 'Open Box' modules at undergraduate (YXM130) and postgraduate (YXM830) levels – which have an innovative curriculum model and allow students the chance to recognise prior learning often completed on the OU's OpenLearn platform. 

As the Open Programme team looks back on over 50 years of curriculum and programme development in this exhibition, we now look to the future, for new developments, iterations and innovations of our programme and our curriculum. There is a desire to embrace the world of multidisciplinary study more overtly and to support our student body to express the value and the benefits of this mode of study. Passion led us here: where it leads us next is unknown, but we embrace the journey as well as the destination. 

The Open Programme team would like to acknowledge the 'Visual Thinkery' skills of Bryan Mathers and highlight how his images elevate the exhibition.