Centre for Open Learning, University of Edinburgh

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Coordinates: 55°57′00″N 3°10′48″W / 55.950°N 3.180°W / 55.950; -3.180

Centre for Open Learning
Head of Centre Prof. David Finkelstein
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Campus Urban
Affiliations University of Edinburgh
Website www.ed.ac.uk/lifelong-learning

The Centre for Open Learning (COL) is a centre at the University of Edinburgh. It is where the University reaches out to the wider community. It provides part-time and short courses in a wide variety of subjects during the day and in the evening. The centre is based at Paterson's Land on the University of Edinburgh's Holyrood campus. The centre offers short courses for adults which run in the daytime and the evening. David Finkelstein is the Chair in Continuing Education and Head of the Centre for Open Learning.[1]


The Office of Lifelong Learning (OLL) was a school within the College of Humanities and Social Science.[2] The buildings of The Office of Lifelong Learning were located on Buccleuch Street in the Central campus adjacent to George Square in Edinburgh. The OLL was subdivided into three sections: Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Continuing Personal Education (CPE) and the Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA).

A range of evening courses were available.[3] In 2007 the OLL launched a ten-week Magic of Harry Potter course.[4]

The CPD Unit works with schools and colleges across the University in developing their CPD programmes to meet professional development needs. In 2004, the centre collaborated with North Highland College to offer videoconference tutorials covering emergency veterinary topics, the first time that this was achieved at a UK vet school.[5]

In 2008 the OLL merged with the Institute of Applied Language Studies.[6] In April 2016, it was renamed the Centre for Open Learning.[1]


Each year there are around 12,000 enrolments, from local people returning to learning, to professionals seeking to develop their skills.

The Open Studies programme offered over 400 part-time, weekly classes each year. Many can be studied for credit, and credit may be accumulated to gain a Certificate of Higher Education.

The University of Edinburgh/Stevenson College Access Course is designed for adults living locally who want to return to part-time education. The course prepares adults (i.e. those aged 21 or over) for degree study in the Humanities and Social Sciences.


  1. ^ a b "Office of Lifelong Learning – Change of Name" (Press release). 4 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "About the Centre for Open Learning (formerly OLL)". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Lessons for life". The Scotsman. 3 September 2003. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "Harry casts a spell on students". The Scotsman. 2 April 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "Vets to study via video link in UK first". The Scotsman. 5 March 2004. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Wojtas, Olga (7 August 2008). "Arts and social sciences 'crisis' at Edinburgh". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 

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