I am proud to represent and promote The Open University. Why? Because the institution is becoming somewhat of a phenomenon. Shadow Universities Minister, Liam Byrne MP, described The Open University and it’s learning and research as a vital part “of the future of Britain.”
So, here are a few of the facts you may or may not know about The Open University.
The Open University is in fact the largest university in the UK. With over 200,000 students learning at any one time and 4 in 10 of all UK part-time undergraduates choosing the OU, the university is actually larger than any of the mainstream, campus universities.
FACT: The average age of a new undergraduate is 30. With over a quarter of students aged between 17-25, it is clear that flexibility and opportunities to earn and learn are some of the factors that are influencing younger students.
The National Student Survey (NSS) ranks The Open University in the top ten for student satisfaction. In 2013, the OU came eighth. Student experience included working at their own pace, access to online materials, social networks and facilities in each region. In 2012/2013, the university had a 92% satisfaction rating.
EARN WHILE YOU LEARN
Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored their staff to take OU courses.
QUALITY OF TEACHING
The UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise ranked The Open University in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.
The OU is seen as Britain’s most important e-learning institution, with research and development in technology to increase access to education. Materials are available through iTunes which has recorded over 60 million downloads. The university emphasises and utilises social media, alongside promoting opportunities to get involved through the student association.
YOU CAN USE ANY UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
The SCONUL access scheme: this allows students from The Open University to use any university library in the UK, whether to have a place of study or simply to borrow a book. I think this is simply a brilliant idea.
MEETING NEW PEOPLE
The Open University runs special events and meet-ups, face-face tutorials and the OU conference allows students to be involved at the Milton Keynes Campus or online. Utilising social networks and online forums can be very helpful and the SCONUL access scheme allows you in to any university library, so it may be new people from further afield who you meet.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Or so to speak. There are hundreds of free courses to try on OpenLearn which give a flavour of what being an Open University is really about. The OU prides itself on being a world leader in the development of Open Educational Resources and is always trying new ways of teaching and learning.
OU AND BBC
A 41 year partnership between two great institutions. Programmes include Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory and The Money Programme.
CAN YOU DO IT?
Yes. Anyone can. With the support The OU offers, to anybody with any ability is incredible. There is great career guidance and plenty of support from the student support team and tutors. It is an incredibly different and refreshing way of learning.
The place to visit for all things Open University is http://www.open.ac.uk.