The Open University (OUUK) was founded in the UK in 1969 to open up higher education to all, regardless of circumstances or location. With 174,000 registered students, The OU is the largest UK university and one of the largest universities in the world. More than 2 million learners have graduated from the OU. Nearly all OU undergraduate courses have no formal entry requirements, either prior qualifications or experience. As such it is committed to openness in education in all its forms, and has this embedded in its mission: to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.
The OU has a longstanding record of expertise in online, distance and open education. The OU has long been recognised as world leader in research into open education and distance learning with recent high-profile projects including the Open Education Research Hub and OpenTEL research programme. This research is fed back into teaching provision, and consequently OUUK has a history of innovation in the area of open and distance education. In 2006 it launched the OpenLearn project to release freely available OER. OpenLearn now hosts over 600 courses and attracts over 3 million visitors a year. In 2013, it launched the FutureLearn project which created a MOOC platform for UK and other universities, building on the OU’s expertise in social learning online. The OU has several dedicated OER portals, making content available through OpenLearn; YouTube; iTunesU and Open Research Online as well as working with the BBC to develop educational programming.
- Robert Farrow, Senior Research Fellow OUUK
- Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology OUUK
- Maria Di Gennaro, Senior Research Manager OUUK