Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Blogs


Our blogs are written by OU academics, staff and our partner organisations. They share their expertise and emerging research as well as comment on current social issues. 


A female construction site worker, holding a digital tablet and walkie talkie

Career development opportunities for union members

How the OU supports union members to develop their careers and find new employment opportunities is explored by Michael Conroy, a Learning Organiser for Unite the Union.    

23 September 2021

A seated man, looking at his laptop screen

Trade unions support upskilling and reskilling

Access for trade union members to learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond, is discussed by Tommy Breslin, a Senior Development Officer for Scottish Union Learning within the Scottish Trades Union Congress.    

23 September 2021

Sas Amoah

Delivering equality with actions not just words

Delivering race equality in education with actions, not just words, is explored in this blog by Sas Amoah, OU Digital Media Producer and Co-Chair of OU’s Black & Minority Ethnic Network.    

27 August 2021

NHS rainbow chalk drawing

The future of nurse education? Studying with the OU

The OU's open-access programme which is helping people across Scotland to become nurses is explored in this short blog by Wendy McInally, OU Senior Lecturer in Nursing. 

12 May 2021

Carla Belkevitz in Clydebank

OU's unique learning has never been more relevant

The Open University's unique and globally recognised model of supported distance learning has come into its own, as we have all adapted to a changing world with the Covid-19 pandemic, says OU in Scotland Director, Susan Stewart.

23 April 2021

A seated woman, smiling

How SMEs can develop in-demand skills

OU skills training of up to £5,000 which small to medium-sized enterprises across Scotland can access via a Scottish Government fund, is discussed by Suzanne McQuade, OU Business Relationships Manager for Scotland. 

19 April 2021

Skills+ Scotland, The Open University in Scotland's vision for the 2021-26 Scottish Parliament

Towards an inclusive economic recovery

Discover how the OU is supporting an inclusive economic recovery from the COVID pandemic, and our vision for the next Scottish Parliament, in this blog by Marie Hendry, OU in Scotland Depute Director.

12 April 2021

Geologists work at the Cononish mine and feature in the Gold Town documentary

Gold Rocks Scotland

Geologist, OU Senior Lecturer and Gold Town programme advisor Dr Julie Robson discusses geology’s role in gold exploration and sustainable management of the planet’s resources, ahead of episode three of the OU/BBC documentary.

19 March 2021

Image of a hand writing in a notebook with a pencil, beside an open laptop.

The need for an inclusive recovery

How Scotland can rebuild its economy in an inclusive manner post-pandemic is explored in this blog by Susan Stewart, Director of The Open University in Scotland.

18 March 2021

The Green Welly Stop business is in the Highlands village of Tyndrum

Globalising Tyndrum

Gold mining in the Highlands is the focus of new OU/BBC documentary Gold Town. Dr Gerry Mooney, an OU Senior Lecturer and programme adviser, explores the global connections of nearby Tyndrum.

12 March 2021

A smiling man and woman seated at a table, with an open notebook

Student carers need more support

The pandemic’s impact on carers, and a new free resource for staff at universities to be able to better support student carers, are discussed by Gill Ryan, an OU Access, Participation and Success Officer. 

11 March 2021

A seated woman, resting her chin on her hand

Learning supports wellbeing

As we start 2021 with so many things we'd normally do still off limits, there’s a wide range of free content to help you move forward, says Shona Littlejohn, OU in Scotland Depute Director. 

07 January 2021

Man using a laptop in a cafe

Supporting and Upskilling Scotland

Skilled people are vital in helping with economic recovery. The OU is committed to providing flexible online education to support and upskill people across Scotland, says Diane Cooper, OU in Scotland Partnership Manager.

23 November 2020

Susan Stewart, OU in Scotland Director

Retrain or reskill to meet the global challenge

In challenging times for the global economy and jobs market, support will be needed more than ever for workers looking to retrain or reskill, says OU in Scotland Director, Student Stewart.

17 November 2020

Prof Sir Geoff Palmer

Scotland’s links with Caribbean Slavery

Scotland’s first black professor, leading human rights activist and Open University honorary graduate, Prof Sir Geoff Palmer CD, shares reflections on Scotland’s black slavery history and the importance of teaching it today.

29 October 2020

Carol Hunter

Vital that care experienced voices are heard

Award-winning care experienced Open University Bachelors graduate and Masters student Carol Hunter shares her personal and educational experiences, in this blog for Care Experienced Week 2020.

28 October 2020

Dr Julie McElroy

Closing the disability assistance gap

Award-winning disability rights campaigner, inspirational public speaker and OU student Dr Julie McElroy, shares first-hand how supportive access to higher education can empower people with disabilities.

22 October 2020

Woman with worried expression, sitting at kitchen table with papers, calculator and an open laptop

Facing maths fears in a jiffy

Andrew Potter, Staff Tutor in Maths and Statistics at the OU in Scotland, explores how the OU is helping people across Scotland to overcome their maths fears.

28 September 2020

Three people working at computers

Cyber security skills at IBM enhanced via Graduate Apprenticeships

Suzanne McQuade, OU Business Relationships Manager for Scotland, explores how IBM is utilising the Graduate Apprenticeship scheme in Scotland to upskill its talent pipeline from within.

16 September 2020

Helen Kafantari Maciver working at Western Isles Hospital

From Healthcare Assistant to Staff Nurse via OU

Emergency Department Nurse at the Western Isles Hospital, Helen Kafantari Maciver, shares her journey from healthcare assistant to staff nurse, via an Open University degree.

16 September 2020

Map of OU students by Scottish Parliament region 2018-19 - Central Scotland, 1740; Glasgow, 1770; Highlands and Islands, 1750; Lothian, 2900; Mid Scotland and Fife, 1990; North East Scotland, 2480; South Scotland, 2310; West Scotland, 1860

Learning for everyone supports recovery

Learning has an essential role in Scotland's economic recovery post Covid-19, says the OU in Scotland's Director, Susan Stewart.

24 August 2020

Bernardine Evaristo

Write yourself into The Open University story and you might change your life

The experiences of novelist Bernardine Evaristo’s character chime with those of many OU students, says OU in Scotland Director, Susan Stewart.

21 August 2020

Woman standing outside workplace

Wanting to learn or develop job skills? Then the OU is for you

The OU has taken a rapid, responsive approach during the pandemic to help minimise the impact for workers and businesses, says Marie Hendry, its Scotland Depute Director for External Engagement and Partnerships. 

15 July 2020

A laptop user's hands resting over the keyboard

How to overcome the challenge of online learning

With Scotland’s students and school pupils abruptly switching to online study due to the Covid-19 pandemic, OU Senior Lecturer Laura Alexander shares advice to help with the challenge. 

30 June 2020

Person holding an iPad with images of books displayed on screen

Schools may be closed, but we’re still open for learning

Schools will always be the best place for children to learn, but there can be a role for other bodies to complement and support teachers and parents in a way that works for them, says OU in Scotland Director Susan Stewart. 

29 June 2020

Photo of woman waving at laptop

A world of learning at your fingertips to celebrate significant days

While many of us are trying to keep ourselves and others engaged and informed at home by going online, it seems particularly significant that this week is National Digital Learning Week. Indeed, it’s a week full of timely and respectful tributes. Susan Stewart, Director of the OU in Scotland, explores five ways to mark these celebrations, with free online learning.

14 May 2020

Image of OpenLearn website's homepage - Dive in and start learning

Learning in the time of lockdown

In these strange days, you may feel that learning is the last thing on your mind. But since the beginning of lockdown, the OU's free learning platform OpenLearn has welcomed a record numbers of visitors, says OU in Scotland's Gill Ryan.

11 May 2020

Photo of woman waving at laptop

How to age well while self-isolating

People have been made to isolate to delay the spread of COVID-19, but there are several risks of self-isolation to older people. This blog by the OU's Dr Jitka Vseteckova offers some tips on how to combat these risks. These tips will be explored further at an Ageing Well Virtual Talk with Dr Vseteckova on Thursday 7 May 2020. 

5 May 2020

Smiling woman seated at laptop

Mental health and stress awareness more important than ever now

In Stress Awareness Month, Ben Wood of The OU's Open Media and Informal Learning Unit writes about resources available on free learning site OpenLearn. 

15 April 2020

Business people seated round a table for a meeting

Apprenticeships, study and skills development aren't just for the young

In Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Marie Hendry, OU in Scotland Depute Director for External Engagement and Partnerships, discusses upskilling opportunities for businesses. 

6 March 2020

A World Social Justice Day graphic

Don't call it a day on learning - OU will help you gain vital skills

On World Day of Social Justice, Susan Stewart, Director of the Open University in Scotland, celebrates making education open to all, regardless of educational background.

20 February 2020

Dr Michael Dempster

Dr Michael Dempster: A year o firsts fir the Scots language (article available in the Scots language and Standard English)

While we’re celebrating Burns Night, it’s also a time to celebrate the recent developments and the bright future for the Scots Language, says Scots Scriever, Dr Michael Dempster. 

24 January 2020

Jennie Lee speaking at an Independent Labour Party gathering at Garrison Bridge, West Scotland, 1930.

Jennie Lee: MP, minister, rebel, fighter, Open University champion

As a touring exhibition opens on the life of Jennie Lee, a founder of The Open University, OU in Scotland Director Susan Stewart shares ten things about Jennie that you might not know. 

30 October, 2019

Newtonhill Primary School pupils

Language learning for primary classrooms, as TELT by teachers

Wendy Craig and Aimee Bainbridge, teachers at Newtonhill Primary School in Aberdeenshire, discuss their participation in the Open University’s TELT programme – TEachers Learning to Teach languages. 

10 September, 2019

Business people in conversation

Upskilling and reskilling of staff no longer optional extra - it is vital

Marie Hendry, OU in Scotland Depute Director, External Engagement and Partnerships, discusses the benefits to workforces of staff skills development, as an OU Roadshow with several employer events across the country gets set to launch. 

22 August, 2019

Woman writing at sunset

Using the power of writing to deal with grief

Ahead of her event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival Catherine Simpson, author of 'When I Had a Little Sister' and Open University alumnus, shares her experiences. 

13 August, 2019

Apollo 11 - Aldrin Looks Back at Tranquillity Base. Credit - NASA

Fifty years after that 'one small step' there's a new rush to reach the Moon

With anniversaries being celebrated of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, and The Open University being founded, Dr Mahesh Anand discusses projects he has led at the OU working on Apollo samples, and looks to the future of space exploration.

24 July, 2019

Lord Crowther - OU Charter Day

Education for all is our ethos - and millions of people have benefited

Susan Stewart, Director of the Open University in Scotland, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the OU and the lives it has changed.

24 April, 2019

Woman in a meadow at sunrise, with arms outstretched

A fairer society and decent quality of life gives us many happy returns

On the International Day of Happiness, Professor of Economics at the OU, Paul Anand, discusses happiness in Scotland and other countries.

20 March, 2019

Woman at a computer

Having a 'Day' to mark equality of opportunity is a goal worth having

Marie Hendry, OU in Scotland Depute Director, External Engagement and Partnerships, writes about the importance of opening education, skills development and careers paths to all.

8 March, 2019

Photo of two people shaking hands across a table

Leadership in voluntary organisations: from the top, bottom, and across the table

Collaborative leadership in voluntary organisations is discussed by Dr Carol Jacklin-Jarvis, from the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership within The Open University Business School.

15 February, 2019

Why Glasgow’s ‘Bolshevist Uprising’ in 1919 wasn’t quite the red threat to UK many believed

Gerry Mooney, Senior OU Lecturer in Social Policy and Criminology, examines events in Glasgow's George Square 100 years ago, and explains why they remain so vivid for many in the city today.

31 January, 2019

Laptop, headphones and a pile of books

From the Highlands to the Borders - A day in the life of an OU online creative writing tutor

OU creative writing tutor Jules Horne, an award-winning playwright and fiction writer, shares her experience of using an online classroom for a workshop on Hamlet with students in diverse locations.

30 January, 2019

A poetry graphic

Veterans have poetic licence to reveal their deepest feelings

Siobhan Campbell is Co-Chair of the Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the OU and editor of ‘Courage and Strength: Stories and Poems by Combat Veterans’. She writes about projects with veterans of the military forces.

28 January, 2019

Adhesive notes with resolutions - Save money, enjoy life, take a trip

How to detox your finances for 2019

Martin Upton, Director of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (PUFin) at the Open University Business School, shares some steps for reviewing household finances.

8 January, 2019

An active volcano

How Scotland's extinct volcanoes help us understand today's eruptions 

Dr John Murray, Volcanologist and a Senior OU Research Fellow, explains how research by a Scottish geologist on the Ardnamurchan peninsula decades ago helps inform present volcano studies.

29 November, 2018

Female studying, with books and laptop

Open to innovation and entrepreneurialism 

Susan Stewart, Director of The OU in Scotland, writes about open educational resources and their role in helping develop entrepreneurship, particularly in rural areas. 

22 November, 2018

Girls - consider an engineering career 

Officially one of the ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering’, Carol Morris, OU Senior Lecturer in Engineering and Innovation, calls for more females to consider a career in engineering.

8 November, 2018

Scott Montgomery and Shelagh McLachlan at Ayrshire College

It's never too late to learn Social Science

Scott Montgomery is retraining for a new career, doing an OU degree part-time through a collaborative teaching arrangement with Ayrshire College. He talks about his learner journey, and the College’s Shelagh McLachlan - herself an OU graduate - shadows Scott for a day.

29 August, 2018

Comedy masks image

Comforting to know that comedians still take on the tough job of tackling taboos

Humour has always provided a vehicle for performers - and the rest of us - to explore difficult topics, says James Robson, Professor of Classical Studies and Head of the School of Arts and Cultures at The OU. How is this playing out in summer 2018?

15 August, 2018

Sam Orme

My Open University Experience

Software engineer Sam Orme is an OU graduate. He transferred credit from his college HND (Higher National Diploma) in Computing: Software Development towards his OU degree. Sam gained his university qualification while working full-time.

08 August, 2018

Hands holding

Dementia and Decision Making at the End of Life

In the month that the NHS marks its 70th anniversary, Dr Kerry Jones, OU Lecturer in End of Life Care, examines the support and care that people with dementia get towards the end of life.

31 July, 2018

Duck-Rabbit illusion

On the benefits of uneasiness...

OU Associate Lecturer in English Literature Dr Michael Rodgers argues that the uneasiness we experience reading the work of Vladimir Nabokov can be positive - and that the benefits of uneasiness extend to everyday life, including the student experience.

22 June, 2018

Silhouette of a man

‘Migration control’ isn’t about migration – it’s about controlling who can be in our society

Tendayi Bloom, Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at The OU, asks if a state has the right to suddenly choose which of us can be included in society and which cannot.

21 June, 2018

Teacher Memory Simaloya

200 Zambian teachers participate in development workshops with The OU and World Vision

The OU's Dr Lore Gallastegi updates on the Zambian Educational School-based Training (ZEST) project, which centres around Continuing Professional Development for teachers.

13 June, 2018

Photo of female with iPad

Widening Participation: OU Conference chair’s update on digital inclusion and ethical dilemmas

Reflections from Shona Littlejohn, OU in Scotland Depute Director, Student Experience and Widening Access, following The OU's Widening Participation Conference.

31 May, 2018

Kīlauea volcano in Hawai'i

Lava in Hawai'i is reaching the ocean, creating new land but also corrosive acid mist

With the eruption of the Kīlauea volcano in Hawai'i, dangerous corrosive acid mist is being produced, as well as new land, writes OU Honorary Associate Dr Dave McGarvie.

24 May, 2018

DataFest18 logo

DataFest 18: OU courses, research and projects

Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Manager Dr Simona Foscarin shares highlights from The OU's participation in the recent DataFest18, a festival of innovation. 

13 April, 2018

OU graduate Sheila Cameron

Supporting students with disabilities

Shona Littlejohn, Depute Director, Student Experience and Widening Access, at The OU in Scotland writes about supporting students with disabilities. 

3 April, 2018

Maria Macnamara, founder of Smalls for All and OU Honorary Graduate, with children in Africa

#IWD2018: Maria Macnamara, OU Honorary Graduate and founder of Smalls for All

On International Women's Day, OU Honorary Graduate Maria Macnamara writes about the work of her charity, Smalls for All, which helps women and children in Africa. 

8 Mar, 2018


Why nutritional psychiatry is the future of mental health treatment

The OU's Dr Joyce Cavaye writes about the growing discipline of nutritional psychiatry, that focuses on food and supplements to provide essential nutrients in treatment for mental health disorders.

2 Mar, 2018

OU in Scotland Director Susan Stewart with her favourite books

#WorldBookDay - our Director's favourite five

On World Book Day, Susan Stewart - Director of The Open University in Scotland - shares the five books she rates as her favourites.

1 Mar, 2018

Martin Robb and conference panellists

'Supporting Boys' conference in Glasgow

The OU's Dr Martin Robb writes about the 'Supporting Boys' conference in Glasgow, at which he spoke about research projects into young men, masculinity and role models.

27 Feb, 2018

Learning Partnership Officers Sam Kemp and Gill Ryan

Flexible voluntary sector learning from The OU

Charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profits can discover at 'The Gathering', Scotland's largest free event for the third sector, how The OU can help support their staff and volunteers gain new skills and develop.

16 Feb, 2018

Nurse and OU in Scotland graduate, Michaela Olver

From Health Care Support Worker to Staff Nurse

Graduate Michaela Olver shares her journey from Health Care Support Worker to Staff Nurse, via an Open University degree she gained while working.

23 Jan, 2018

Managing My Money

How to detox your finances in 2018

We kick off the New Year with some top tips on managing your personal finances from OU expert, Martin Upton.

04 Jan, 2018

Graduate nurses

Making the headlines in 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, we look back at some of the news stories and blogs that have been making the headlines on The OU in Scotland website in 2017.

21 Dec, 2017

Clydebank Blitz

When the Blitz came to Clydebank

Professor Annika Mombauer discusses how bombs rained down on Clydebank in 1941.

05 Dec, 2017

Iceland volcano

Is Iceland's tallest volcano, Öræfajökull, awakening?

A volcano close to home that is showing signs of activity according to Dr Dave McGarvie.

28 Nov, 2017

ZEST project - World Vision Zambia and Chibombo zonal school colleagues

Teacher development in Zambia

The Open University is developing a one-year school-based teacher development programme in Zambia.

13 Oct, 2017

Dr Sally Magnusson

Music’s power to help dementia

An estimated 100,000 people live with dementia in Scotland and that number is set to increase year on year. Dementia is a catch-all term for a number of degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, for which there is currently no cure.

21 Sept, 2017

Pete Cannell and Claire Hewitt

Using open educational practices to widen access and bridge gaps in education in Scotland

Educational resources are increasingly available online. The shift from print to digital has been rapid and much of the material is ‘open’ in the sense that it is freely available to anyone with an internet connection and an appropriate digital device

08 Sept, 2017

OpenLearn Champions

Adult learning: exploring the policy and practice of widening access

One of the first conclusions drawn by Professor Sir Peter Scott in his early work as the Scottish Government’s Commissioner for Fair Access, is that reaching the targets set out in A Blueprint for Fairness requires “a radical project, more radical perhaps than we care to acknowledge”

Aug, 2017


'Business Barometer Report 2021'

Mind the Skills Gap

The Open University’s Business Barometer report reveals a lack of specialist entry-level talent in Scotland. More than half of Scotland's business leaders believe that work-based learning is critical to their long-term success.

7th October 2021
Three people at a desk with computers

OU training for Scotland's small & medium businesses

Small and medium-sized enterprises across Scotland can access fully funded training up to the value of £5,000, delivered by the OU, to support the development of their staff and volunteers. 

30th August 2021
See all

Media contacts

Media enquiries
OU in Scotland Media Relations
Call 0131 549 7986

OU UK Press Office:
Call 01908 654316

07901 515 891

Visit our OU UK news site
Sign up for Scottish media releases


Sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter, Open Outlook. 

Subscribe for Newsletter