The Open University Biography & Facts
The Open University (OU) is a British public research university and the largest university in the United Kingdom by number of students. The majority of the OU's undergraduate students are based in the United Kingdom and principally study off-campus; many of its courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate) can also be studied anywhere in the world. There are also a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48-hectare university campus in Milton Keynes, where they use the OU facilities for research, as well as more than 1,000 members of academic and research staff and over 2,500 administrative, operational and support staff.The OU was established in 1969 and was initially based at Alexandra Palace, north London, using the television studios and editing facilities which had been vacated by the BBC. The first students enrolled in January 1971. The university administration is now based at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, but has administration centres in other parts of the United Kingdom. It also has a presence in other European countries. The university awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates or continuing education units. It also offers unique Open Degrees, in which students may study any combination of modules across all subjects.
With more than 205,420 students enrolled, including around 34% of new undergraduates aged under 25 and more than 8,802 overseas students, it is the largest academic institution in the United Kingdom (and one of the largest in Europe) by student number, and qualifies as one of the world's largest universities. Since it was founded, more than 2 million students have studied its courses. The Open University is one of only two United Kingdom higher education institutions to gain accreditation in the United States of America by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency, recognised by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The BSc (Honours) Computing and IT course is accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and quality assured by the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education (EQANIE).The OU won the Teaching Excellence and Digital Innovation categories in The Guardian University Awards 2018. In 2018–19 the OU had a £2.77 billion impact on the UK economy. It also produces more CEOs than any other UK university, including universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, University College London and the London School of Economics. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, broadcaster Anna Ford and actress Glenda Jackson are among a host of well-known names who have tutored for the OU.
The Open University was founded by the Labour government under Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Wilson was a strong advocate, using the vision of Michael Young. Planning commenced in 1965 under Minister of State for Education Jennie Lee, who established a model for the OU as one of widening access to the highest standards of scholarship in higher education, and set up a planning committee consisting of university vice-chancellors, educationalists and television broadcasters, chaired by Sir Peter Venables. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Assistant Director of Engineering at the time James Redmond, had obtained most of his qualifications at night school, and his natural enthusiasm for the project did much to overcome the technical difficulties of using television to broadcast teaching programmes.
Wilson envisaged The Open University as a major marker in the Labour Party's commitment to modernising British society. He believed that it would help build a more competitive economy while also promoting greater equality of opportunity and social mobility. The planned utilisation of television and radio to broadcast its courses was also supposed to link The Open University to the technological revolution underway, which Wilson saw as a major ally of his modernisation schemes. However, from the start, Lee encountered widespread scepticism and even opposition from within and without the Labour Party, including senior officials in the Department of Education and Science (DES), her departmental head Anthony Crosland, the Treasury, ministerial colleagues, such as Richard Crossman and commercial broadcasters. The Open University was realised due to Lee's unflagging determination and tenacity in 1965–67, the steadfast support from Wilson, and the fact that the anticipated costs, as reported to Lee and Wilson by Arnold Goodman, seemed very modest. By the time the actual, much higher costs became apparent, it was too late to scrap the fledgling university. The university was granted a royal charter by the Privy Council on 23 April 1969.
Organisation and administration
The majority of staff are part-time associate lecturers and, as of the 2009–10 academic year, almost 8,000 work for the OU. There are also 1,286 (mostly full-time) salaried academic employees (central academics based at Walton Hall and staff tutors based in a variety of regional locations) who are research active and responsible for the production and presentation of teaching materials, 1,931 who are academic-related and 1,902 support staff (including secretaries and technicians). Salaries are the OU's main cost—over £275 million for the 2009–2010 academic year. In 2010 the OU became one of the Sunday Times' Best Places to Work in the Public Sector.
Open University Employees Credit Union is a savings and loans co-operative established by the university for staff in 1994. A member of the Association of British Credit Unions, it is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the PRA. Ultimately, like the banks and building societies, members’ savings are protected against business failure by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
In 2016, the university reorganised its departments and now operates with the Faculties of Arts & Social Sciences (FASS); the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL); the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); and the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education, Languages and Sport (WELS). It also runs Open and Access programmes via PVC-Students, and programmes from the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) via WELS.
In 1982, Open University offered a course titled, "The Effective Manager", developed by a team that was led by Charles Handy. After the reported success of the course, Derek S. Pugh proposed the establishment of a business school. In 1988, the Open University Business School (OUBS) was founded by the Faculty of Management department, for which professor Andrew Thomson was appointed to head. Thomson's main goal was the offering of an MBA p.... Discover the The Open University popular books. Find the top 100 most popular The Open University books.