Talk:Open University

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Miscellaneous[edit]

The very dated fashions of the TV presenters - I can't believe that this reference is actually missing from the OU Wikipedia entry to be honest, surely most laymen mention this about the OU when the topic comes up? It was notorious for it when taught via Television;

e.g. the main Periodic Table in Chemistry was filled in long before the OU started, so once any TV instruction show on that particular topic was made (say in 1971), it didn't need to be re-shot for the later OU students of say 1984, but could just be re-run. Meaning those 1971 presenters (and their outfits and hairstyles etc) would be seen by the later 1984 students. The 1970's being "the decade which fashion forgot" making such things even more startling to those later viewers.

The comedian Jasper Carrott once said something like - "It is difficult to understand the Principles Of Thermonuclear Dynamics on The Open University when being taught it by Manfred Mann." - and the audience roared with laughter.

(Manfred Mann's beard was never that big actually - I've certainly seen bigger and bushier).

Article - `The Open University has made its last broadcast, marking the end of an era. Some 36 years after the first programme, the "televarsity" is moving to media like DVDs and the internet. But it is less the programmes' educational content and more the 1970s fashions and stilted delivery of presenters that many people will miss. An OU spokesman said: "Just as there are different ways to dress, there are different ways to deliver education."'

Source - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6182747.stm

I don't know how you put all that in a referenced form on the OU entry, but I say it needs to be on there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mr gobrien (talkcontribs) 18:06, 23 July 2014 (UTC)


Yesterday, (26th Jan)I put a lot of external links here. I'm sorry you deleted them. You sent me a message telling me not to do external links like that. I won't do it again. Please remember, I'm new here. I put at least an hour's work into those links. The links would help anyone else who wants to fill in the details.

The external links aspect is one of the most useful parts of Wikipedia. I hope that whoever removed them was not too zealous in their activities and so spoil it for the rest of us Godfinger 13:30, 31 May 2007 (UTC)


"It consistently ranks amongst the UK's top ten universities." Do we have any source for this?

The 19 subjects with an excellent rating for teaching place the OU among the top 10 universities in the country on this measure. - The Sunday Times University Guide 2003

The Open University does not appear in the table because it operates entirely through distance learning. As a result, measures of spending on libraries and other facilities do not apply, and comparisons with conventional universities on measures such as staffing levels would be misleading The Times Good University Guide Q&A


The OU is a British University NOT just an English one. It has premises in every region of the UK and supplies exactly the same courses to students throughout the whole United Kingdom (and in Europe, Africa and Asia too for that matter). --VampWillow 23:01, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

That would make it a UK university, not just a British one, then. Continental Europe are considered part of Region 9 (the Northeast of England), though Ireland has its own regional centre (Region 12). --Kain 15:56, 21 November 2006 (UTC)


What does the following mean?

...there is generally no limit on the time which a student may take, although courses cannot be counted after a great number years. Cut off is 1970, i believe.--Mariya Oktyabrskaya (talk) 00:27, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

If there's no time limit, how come courses can't be counted after a long time? Loganberry 02:20, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The text is misleading. There is no fixed number of semesters a student may spend studying, however, some qualifications require that contributory courses were not completed more than, say, four years preiously. The idea is that a student can happily study an eclectic mixture of courses over any number of decades without any problem.
However, if the student wishes to achieve a certain qualification, it is important that the knowledge acquired is current. Otherwise you would have a situation where a student completes 18 biology courses over the duration of, say, three decades, yet expects to be granted a bachelor's degree in biology, even though much of the data is sure to be outdated. rquinn 16:48, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)
The only courses I've seen where it is explicitly stated that there is a time limit for inclusion in qualifications, are the computing and IT courses, that can only count for eight years after their final presentation. --Kain 15:56, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
To add further to the above, courses at the OU are split into 'levels' and courses at a higher level are likely to requier the student to have studied a particular course at a lower level. As courses are only available for a set period - sometimes five years but up to a maximum of nine, and only one year in certain faculities like Law - and may not be replaced with an equivalent course, then this means that the usefulness of some courses disappears over time. --[[User:VampWillow|Vamp:Willow]] 16:54, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC) (who has some 'unused' courses from the 1980's on her OU student record!)
I believe the 1970(ish!) cut-off is because there was a chnage in the way University were licenced/chartered/approved at about that time. I believe that significant changes which restricted the potential number of routes to qualifications, basically, an increase in formality.
The time limits in general are to ensure that a qualification has some relevance to the curent situation. If someone has just passed a degree, one would expect them to know something about current trends in the field, while if someone has studied something 20+ years ago, then they are unlikely to know the current trends. As I understand it, courses can still be counted for points towards non-core courses, but cannot be counted towards the grading element for honours degrees (the degree grade being based on relevant 2nd- and 3rd- year equivalent material, with greater weighting being given to the third). So presumably one can still get an ungraded Ordinary degree using old (but post-1970) courses.
The contributor above is correct in saying that IT course seem to have an 8 year cut-off, but then in a fast changing field, this is understandable. Law has a 6 academic year course limit for a qualifying law degree - i.e. one recognised by the legal profession as an entry route to the profession. If one is happy with a non-qualifying degree (say an inmate of on of Her Majesty's 'hotels' who wants it for practical reasons or to assist his colleagues, or to subsequently work in a CAB, for example), or if one want to do it for career development (say as background to a management/business career), then I am not aware of any limit, even on law courses - for someone working for themselves, a reasonable knowledge of the law can save a lot of time and bother later. But as law degrees tend to be a good bit more expensive (!!), then it is not perhaps a cost-effective route unless one wants a 'Qualifying' law degree.

--Mariya Oktyabrskaya (talk) 01:03, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Notable Graduates[edit]

Unresolved: 25/09/2013 Hindley has been added & deleted a number of times with no clear consensus in this discussion

Wouldn't it be best not to advertise the fact that Myra Hindley studied at Open University, as it is not very good press, even if she is "notable". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 144.82.106.149 (talk) 21:42, 31 January 2007

Wikipedia is not censored, and is not advertising. If this were a brochure, or a website designed to advertise the University, then I'd probably agree. However, it's neither of those. The JPStalk to me 21:54, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I concur with The JPS's comments, however I beleive this that the inclusion of this person is a very positive thing, in that it demonstrates the true openess of this university, in that it has given someone who was regularly described as "the most hated woman in Britain" an opportunity to undertake a tertiarry education. The primary goal of the OU is to open education to all, and I can think of few better examples of this than the work it does in the prisons! Fasach Nua 11:18, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm reverting the recent removal of Myra Hindley from the list of graduates. As has been noted before, OU work with prisoners is more that adequately noteworthy. jxm (talk) 17:29, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

There are plenty of serial killers and other nefarious people in history who have attended universities. Ted Kaczynski attended Harvard, for example. I don't see the need to note Hindley as alumni on the OU's article simply because it's a distance learning university. JJARichardson (talk) 17:32, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I think the issue of notability in this case is that Hindley studied and received her OU degree while in prison, unlike Kaczynski and - as you say - numerous other nefarious types. jxm (talk) 17:51, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Hindley has just been removed again, I'm adding an 'unresolved' consensus tag to this section. Further views, and 'delete' 'keep' comments would be useful. Sjgknight (talk) 14:46, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

I've reinstated Hindley again. There appears to be little reason for retaining the removal by an anonymous editor. I've also taken the opportunity to change the description from 'serial killer' to 'convicted prisoner', which may help put this matter to rest. An OU student's classification as a prisoner seems rather more relevant as an example of the university's outreach work, rather than the specific crimes of any particular student-prisoner. Hope this helps! jxm (talk) 15:29, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps editing the description is the way to go (although many of them have little description), but if so, the reason it's notable is that the degree was completed from prison, would "Hindley - who studied for her degree from prison" be better? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sjgknight (talkcontribs) 15:36, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

"Convicted Prisoner" is a tautology - The OU cannot work with remand prisoners, we only work with those who are convicted. I currently work for the OU with students in prison - there are any number of members of the OU family who have graduated in prison serving life for murder - Hindley is high profile (though less so with the passage of time) and thus a good example of the work we do with this cohort Nogbad (talk) 00:17, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Coat of arms[edit]

The College of Arms said in its newsletter of December 2011[1]:

OPEN UNIVERSITY. Arms, Crest and Supporters in substitution for those previously granted to the Open University in 1971. Garter, Clarenceux and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms. 15/6/2011. College reference: Grants 175/341.

Presumably, then, the arms shown on this article have been superseded. Can anyone tell us about the new arms, or why they changed? Marnanel (talk) 23:08, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the coat of arms has changed, as can be seen at the bottom of most pages in the official web site, although I can't find any image that fully represents it. The interesting fact is that apparently very few among the academic staff and students noticed. It might be worthwhile inquiring if they can provide an updated specimen. 81.129.177.4 (talk) 18:30, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

A slight inaccuracy[edit]

I've been reading the main article, and it says "unlike at campus universities, whhere students register for programmes, OU students register for separate modules" - sorry if I haven't quoted word-for-word, this quote was drawn from my memory - and from my own experience, this quote is somewhat inaccurate. I'm currently going through enrolling for my law degree with the OU, and they ask you to register for a degree first, AND THEN register for the modules that are to count towards that degree. Therefore, the quoted section needs to be updated.

--The Historian (talk) 16:20, 23 May 2013 (UTC)