Open University

The Open University (OU) is a public distance learning and research university, and the biggest university in the UK for undergraduate education. 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.[5] There are also a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48-hectare university campus[6][7] 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.[8]

The OU was established in 1969 and used the original television studios and editing facilities at Alexandra Palace, in north London, which had been recently vacated by the BBC. The first students enrolled in January 1971.[9] The university administration is 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.

With more than 174,000 students enrolled, including around 31% of new undergraduates aged under 25 and more than 7,400 overseas students,[10] 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.[10] It was rated top university in England and Wales for student satisfaction in the 2005,[11] 2006[12] and 2012[13] United Kingdom government national student satisfaction survey, and second in the 2007 survey.[14] Out of 132 universities and colleges, the OU was ranked 43rd (second quartile) in the Times Higher Education Table of Excellence in 2008, between the University of Reading and University of the Arts London; it was rated highly in Design, Art History, English, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, Development Studies, Social Policy and Social Work and Sociology.[15] It was ranked 36th in the country and 498th in the world by the Center for World University Rankings in 2018.[16]

The Open University is also one of only three United Kingdom higher education institutions to gain accreditation in the United States of America by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education,[17] an institutional accrediting agency, recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.[18]

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).[19]

The OU won the Teaching Excellence and Digital Innovation categories in The Guardian University Awards 2018.[20]

The Open University
Open University Coat of Arms Modern
Seal of The Open University
Other name
OU
MottoLearn and Live
TypePublic
Established1969
FoundersHarold Wilson[1]
Jennie Lee[1]
Walter Perry[1]
Peter Venables[1]
ChancellorBaroness Lane-Fox of Soho[2]
Vice-ChancellorMary Kellett (Acting)
Students168,215[3]
Undergraduates156,975[3]
Postgraduates11,240[3]
Location
Milton Keynes (main campus)
,
United Kingdom
48 hectares (0.48 km2)[4]
Colours
AffiliationsUniversity Alliance
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
Websitewww.open.ac.uk
www.openuniversity.edu
OU-Logo-improved

History

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 envisioned 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 modernization schemes. However, from the start Lee encountered widespread scepticism and even opposition from within and without the Labour Party, including senior officials in the DES; her departmental head Anthony Crosland; the Treasury; Ministerial colleagues, such as Richard Crossman; and commercial broadcasters. The Open University was realized 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 open university.[21] The university was granted a Royal Charter by the Privy Council on 23 April 1969.[22]

Organisation and administration

Staff

The majority of staff are part-time Associate Lecturers and, as of the 2009–10 academic year, almost 8,000 work for the OU.[23] 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).[24] Salaries are the OU's main cost—over £275 million for the 2009–2010 academic year.[24] In 2010 the OU became one of the Sunday Times' Best Places to Work in the Public Sector.

Credit union

Open University Employees Credit Union Limited is a savings and loans co-operative established by the University for staff in 1994. A member of the Association of British Credit Unions Limited,[25] 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.[26]

Academic divisions

Wilson building at Open University Campus in Milton Keynes, spring 2013 (3)
Wilson building in the main campus, Milton Keynes

Faculties

In 2016, the university reorganised its departments and now operates with the Faculties of Arts & Social Sciences; The Open University Business School (OUBS); The Open University Law School; Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM); Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies; Institute of Educational Technology (IET); Knowledge Media Institute (KMI).

Business school

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 program, which was eventually funded through a grant from the Department of Education and Science (DES). In 1989, the first class of MBA students were enrolled.[27]

The Open University Business school is accredited by the international accrediting bodies AACSB,[28] AMBA,[29] and EQUIS.[30] It was placed in the top 1% of UK business schools after having received triple-accreditation.[31][32]

The OU Business School's MBA programme was ranked 13th in the Financial Times’s global rankings of online and distance learning MBA providers which featured five European schools, four of which were in the UK.[33]

Singapore Institute of Management Open University Centre

From 1992 to 2005, the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) ran the Open University Degree Programme (OUDP), in collaboration with The Open University, United Kingdom (OUUK). which was re-named the Singapore Institute of Management's Open University Centre (SIM-OUC) as one of SIM's autonomous entity. In 2005, after SIM formed SIM University (UniSIM), it took over SIM-OUC students and granted those who graduated in 2006 a choice between a UniSIM or OUUK degree.[34]

Academic profile

Teaching methods

The Open University, Leeds (27th June 2010)
A former local Open University centre in Leeds

The OU uses a variety of methods for teaching, including written and audio materials, the Internet, disc-based software and television programmes on DVD. Course-based television broadcasts by the BBC, which started on 3 January 1971, ceased on 15 December 2006.[35] Materials comprise originally authored work by in-house and external academic contributors, and from third-party materials licensed for use by OU students. For most modules, students are supported by tutors ("Associate Lecturers") who provide feedback on their work and are generally available to them at face-to-face tutorials, by telephone, and/or on the Internet. A number of short courses worth ten credits are now available that do not have an assigned tutor but offer an online conferencing service (Internet forum) where help and advice is offered through conferencing "Moderators".

Robert Hook building at Open University Campus in Milton Keynes, spring 2013 (3)
Robert Hook building at Open University Campus in Milton Keynes

Some modules have mandatory day schools. Nevertheless, it is possible to be excused on the basis of ill-health (or other extenuating circumstances) and many courses have no mandatory face-to-face component. Similarly, some modules have traditionally offered week-long summer schools offering an opportunity for students to remove themselves from the general distractions of their life and focus on their study for a short time.

Over the past ten years the university has adopted a policy of separating residential modules from distance-full-time taught modules. Exemption from attendance at residential schools, always as an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE), is sometimes available for disabled students and others who find it impossible to attend in person (See "Qualifications-Undergraduate" section.)

For many years the OU produced television and radio programmes aimed at bringing learning to a wider audience. In its early years most of these were in the form of documentaries or filmed lectures. Latterly, most OU-associated programming was mainstream and broadcast in peak hours, including series such as Rough Science and "Battle of the Geeks", while older-style programming was carried in the BBC Learning Zone. In 2004 the OU announced it was to stop its late-night programmes on BBC Two, and the last programme was broadcast at 5.30am on 16 December 2006. The OU now plans to focus on semi-academic television programmes, such as many now broadcast on BBC Four.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education review published in December 2015 found five areas of good practice and made three recommendations for improvement.[36] The English national survey of student satisfaction has twice put the Open University in first place.

In October 2006, the OU joined the Open educational resources movement with the launch of OpenLearn. A growing selection of current and past distance learning course materials will be released for free access, including downloadable versions for educators to modify (under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence), plus free collaborative learning-support tools.

The OU is researching the use of virtual worlds in teaching and learning, and has two main islands in Second Life. These islands are called Open University island[37] and OUtopia village.[38] They are separated by a third region "OU Ocean." In May 2009 these regions formed the basis of a case study[39] by Linden Lab, the company which owns Second Life.

As of mid-2010, the university led the list of contributing universities in the number of downloads of its material from the educational resources site iTunes U, with downloads of over 20 million.[40] Open University continues to adopt Moodle as the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) with their own team deploying custom plugins.[41][42]

Since 2013, the OU has set up a MOOC platform called FutureLearn which is now the UK's largest provider of free online courses.

Assessment methods

Open University modules are often assessed using an equal weighting of examinations and coursework. The coursework component normally takes the form of between two and seven tutor marked assignments (TMAs) and, occasionally, may also include up to six multiple-choice or "missing word" 10-question interactive computer marked assignments (iCMAs). The examinable component is usually an invigilated three-hour paper regardless of the size of the module (although on some modules it can be up to three three-hour papers[43]), but an increasing number of modules instead have an EMA (End of Module Assessment) which is similar to a TMA, in that it is completed at home, but is regarded as an exam for grading purposes.

Modules results are sometimes issued on a graded basis, consisting of pass grades 1 (threshold 85%, a distinction), 2 (70–84%), 3 (55–69%) & 4 (40–54%), and fail (below 40%). This grade is calculated as the lower of the overall continuous assessment score (OCAS) and overall examination score (OES).

These grades can be weighted[44] according to their level, and combined to calculate the classification of a degree. An undergraduate degree will weight level 3 modules twice as much as level 2, and in postgraduate programmes all M level modules are equally weighted.

Qualifications

Undergraduate

Open University modules have associated with them a number of Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) credits – usually 30 or 60 – depending on the quantity of the material in the module and a level (1, 2, 3, or 4) corresponding to the complexity, with 120 credits roughly equating to the year of study for a full-time student.

The OU offers a large number of undergraduate qualifications, including certificates, diplomas, and bachelor's degrees, based on both level and quantity of study. An OU undergraduate degree requires 300 (or 360 for honours) CATS credits.

Students are generally advised not to undertake more than 60 credits per year, meaning that an undergraduate degree will take typically six years to complete. With the exception of some degrees in fast moving areas (such as computing) there is generally no limit on the time which a student may take. Students need special permission to take more than 120 credits (equivalent to full-time study) at any time;[45] such permission is not usually granted.

Originally the BA was the only undergraduate degree, and it was unnamed. The modern OU grants degrees of Bachelor of Arts (BA), Science (BSc), Laws (LLB) and Engineering (BEng); the BA and BSc may be named (following a specified syllabus) or unnamed (constructed of courses chosen by the student) degrees.

Many OU faculties have now introduced short modules worth ten credits. Most of these modules are taught online, and start at regular intervals throughout the year. They typically provide an introduction to a broader subject over a period of ten weeks, these are generally timed during vacations at conventional universities in order to take advantage of their facilities. Some science modules, which require only home study, are complemented by residential courses, in order to allow the student to gain practical laboratory experience in that field; typically, an award of degree or diploma will require completion of both.

Different modules are run at different times of the year, but, typically, a 30 or 60 credit module will run either from October to June or from February to October. Assessment is by both continual assessment (with, normally, between four and eight assignments during the year) and, for most, a final examination or, on some modules, a major assignment.

As well as degrees in named subject, the Open University also grants "Open" Bachelor's degrees where the syllabus is designed by the students by combining any number of Open University modules up to 300 credits for an Open degree and 360 credits for an Open honours degree – the main restriction on which courses can be included is that there must be at least 60 at level 3 for the "ordinary degree" and 120 at level 3 for honours and in both cases no more than 120 at level 1. The Open degree may be awarded as a Bachelor of Arts Open or a Bachelor of Science Open either with or without honours. Without honours, at least 150 credits at level 1 and above and 60 credits at level 2 and above are required in the field, either art or science, for the Open degree to carry that name. For a degree with honours, no more than 120 credits at level 1, 120 credits at level 2 and above and 120 credits at level 3 and above are required.

The Open University grants undergraduate Certificates (abbreviated Cert) typically awarded after 60 completed credits at Level 1 or Level 3 (where each credit corresponds to roughly 10 hours of study, therefore 60 credits represent about 600 hours of effort), Diplomas (abbreviated Dip) after 120 credits – typically 60 credits at Level 2 and 60 credits at Level 3. Open University also awards Foundation degrees (abbreviated FD).

OU also offers a limited number of CertHE (120 CATS) and DipHE (240 CATS).

Postgraduate

The Open University provides the opportunity to study for a PhD on a part-time distance, or a full-time basis (on-site for science subjects, off-site with some supervisions on-site for arts) in a wide range of disciplines as well as an EdD for professionals in education. The university also offers a range of Master's levels modules such as the MBA and MPA, MSc, MA and MEd, and MRes, as well as the professional PGCE qualification and a number of postgraduate diplomas and certificates including innovative practice-based modules and postgraduate computing qualifications for professionals. Postgraduate certificates are awarded for 60 credits of study on specified modules; postgraduate diplomas are awarded for 120 credits of study on specified modules. The university offers "Advanced Diplomas" that involve 60 credits at undergraduate level and 60 credits at postgraduate level – these are designed as "bridges" between undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Degree ceremonies

Unlike most United Kingdom universities, degree ceremonies at the Open University are not graduation ceremonies as such (the occasion on which degrees are formally conferred on those who have achieved substantive degrees)—although honours degrees are normally conferred on these occasions. The Open University degree ceremony is officially known as a "Presentation of Graduates" at which those who have already had a degree bestowed on them are presented to the University Chancellor or his/her representative. Open University graduates normally graduate in absentia at a joint meeting of the university's council and senate ("congregation") which takes place at a meeting entirely separate from the degree ceremony.

The university's degree ceremonies occur throughout the year at various prestigious auditorium venues located throughout the United Kingdom, plus one each in Ireland and Continental Western Europe. In the year 2010 the OU held 26 degree ceremonies including Dublin, Manchester, Glasgow, Ely and Versailles. These ceremonies are presided over by a senior academic at Pro-Vice-Chancellor level or higher, and have the normal formal rituals associated with a graduation ceremony, including academic dress, procession and university mace.

In year 2000, the Open University was the first to host an online "virtual" graduation ceremony in the United Kingdom together with an audience at the OU's campus in Milton Keynes. Twenty-six students in eight countries, from the United States of America to Hong Kong, were presented for their master's degrees in the online graduation, including, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Tim Berners-Lee one of the founders of the World Wide Web on whom was conferred an honorary doctorate.[46]

Research

Rankings
Global rankings
ARWU (2018)[47]601–700
CWTS Leiden (2018)[48]367
QS (2019)[49]
601+
THE (2019)[50]401-500

Like other UK universities, the OU actively engages in research. The OU's Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute has become particularly well known to the public through its involvement in space missions. In October 2006, the Cassini-Huygens mission including 15 people from the OU received the 2006 "Laurels for Team Achievement Award" from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). Cassini-Huygens' successful completion of its seven-year, two billion-mile journey in January 2005 to Saturn ended with Huygens landing farther away from Earth than any previous probe or craft in the history of space exploration. The first instrument to touch Saturn's moon Titan was the Surface Science Package containing nine sensors to investigate the physical properties of Titan's surface. It was built by a team at the OU led by Professor John Zarnecki.

The OU employs over 500 people engaged in research in over 25 areas, and there are over 1,200 research students. It spends approximately £20 million each year on research, around £6 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the remainder from external funders.

The Open University also runs the Open Research Online (ORO) website.[51]

Students

In the 2015–16 academic year, there were 174,739 enrolled students.[52]

Demographics

Enrollment numbers show a tremendous difference from 2009-2010 to 2016-2017.[53]

Most students were from England (99,834), while 14,903 were from Scotland, 6,668 from Wales, 3,667 from Northern Ireland and 4,900 from elsewhere in the European Union, plus others elsewhere. 60% of undergraduates were female, with 53% of those taking postgraduate modules being male. 22,664 of students in 2015–16 had declared disabilities.[52]

According to the Guardian the fall in the number of part-time students was accelerated in 2012 when tuition fees rose and there was limited financial support for part-time students. The Open University saw a 30% drop of part-time students from 2010–11 and 2015-16.[54]

While most of those studying are mature students, an increasingly large proportion of new undergraduates are aged between 17 and 25, to the extent that the OU now has more students in this age range than any other UK university.[55][56] In the 2003–2004 academic year around 20% of new undergraduates were under 25,[57] up from 12.5% in 1996–1997[57] (the year before top-up fees were announced). In 2010 approximately 55% of those under 25 were also in full-time employment.[58] In 2010, 29,000 undergraduates were in this age range.[58] By 2011, 32,000 undergraduates were under 25 years old,[55] representing around 25% of new students.[59] The majority of students in the 2015–16 academic year were aged between 25 and 34 years old, with the median age of new undergraduates being 28.[52]

As of 2014, the OU's youngest graduate was a fifteen-year-old boy from Wales who gained a BSc First Class Honours in 2014.[60]

The OU works with some schools to introduce A-Level students to OU study and in 2009–10 3% of undergraduates were under 18 years old.

Courses

Unlike other universities, where students register for a programme, OU students register separately for individual modules (which may be 30 or 60 CATS credits (and formerly available in 10, 15, or 20 credits), equivalent to 15 or 30 ECTS credits). These modules may then be linked into degree programmes.

During the 2009–10 academic year social studies was the most popular study area (with 16,381 full-time equivalent students), followed by biological and physical sciences (12,357) and historical and philosophical studies (8,686); student numbers even on smaller undergraduate programmes, such as creative arts and design[24] are still significant (2,528) as are postgraduate registrations on programmes such as mass communications and documentation (123 full-time equivalent students).

The most popular module during 2009–10 was DD101 An introduction to the social sciences (7,512 students), followed by AA100 The Arts Past and Present, B120 An Introduction to Business Studies, K101 An Introduction to Health and Social Care and Y163 Starting with Psychology.[24]

Fees and financial assistance

17,634 students received financial assistance towards their study in 2015–16.[52] The typical cost for United Kingdom-based students of a Bachelor's honours degree at the OU was between £3,780 and £5,130 in 2009-10. From September 2012 the Government reduced its funding for all students residing in England and fees went up to compensate. English students pay higher fees than those living in the rest of the United Kingdom. The average cost of one full-time year or 120 credits rose to £5,000, bringing the cost of an average Bachelor's honours degree for an English student to £15,000. (European Union and international students pay more as the university does not receive government funding for them).[24] The most important revenue stream to the Open University is now academic fees paid by the students, which totalled about £157 million in 2009–10 and £248 million in 2015–16.[24][52]

Qualifications awarded

The university enrolled fewer than 50,000 students in the 1970–71 academic year, but it quickly exceeded that number by 1974–75.[24] By 1987–88 yearly enrollment had doubled to 100,000 students, passing 200,000 by 2001–02 and 250,000 in 2009–10.[24] Numbers fell when the fee regime changed.

Cumulatively, by the end of 2009–10 the OU had educated more than 1.5 million students and awarded 819,564 qualifications after successful assessment.[24]

In addition, the Open University provides certification for qualifications at Ruskin College in Oxford and Richmond, the American International University in London, a private liberal arts institution. (Until 2008, it provided the same service for the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland).

Open University Students Association

The Open University Students Association is the equivalent of a students' union for the Open University, and is a registered charity wholly funded by the Open University (OU). The association is governed by a Board of Trustees and a Central Executive Committee. Each student registered with the OU automatically becomes part of the Students Association unless they elect to formally opt out. It offers opportunities to meet up, volunteer, find information and access services to support learning.

Notable current and former academics

Walton hall
Walton Hall manor house, the vice-chancellor's office and the second oldest building on the OU Campus.
Cintra House, Hills Road, Cambridge
Cintra House, Cambridge, the university's former base in the East of England.

Notable alumni, graduates and honorees

The OU has over two million alumni, including:

In fiction

The Open University has been featured in many films and television programmes. The plot of Educating Rita surrounds the working class character aiming to "improve" herself by studying English literature. She attends private tutorials run by alcoholic lecturer Frank.[71]

Television characters have also followed OU courses. These include Anne Bryce in the BBC sit-com Ever Decreasing Circles, Yvonne Sparrow in Goodnight Sweetheart and Bulman, in the ITV spin-off from the series Strangers. Sheila Grant (Sue Johnston) was accused of having an affair with her tutor in Brookside. Onslow, a character from Keeping up Appearances, watches Open University programming on television from time to time.

In autumn 2006, Lenny Henry was a star in Slings and Arrows, a one-off BBC television drama which he also wrote, about someone who falls in love while on an OU English Literature course. (Henry has himself completed an OU degree in English.)[66]

In the 2006–07 TV series Life on Mars, Sam Tyler received messages from the real world via Open University programmes late at night.

Doreen from Birds of a Feather announced she had been accepted by the Open University to do a degree in psychology and began studying with the University in series 3.

In the 2016 novel Swing Time by Zadie Smith, the narrator's mother is a student of the Open University.

Partner institutions

See also

References

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Further reading

  • Dorey, Pete. "‘Well, Harold Insists on Having It!’—The Political Struggle to Establish The Open University, 1965–67." Contemporary British History 29#2 (2015): 241-272.
  • Perry, Walter. "The Open University" Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. (1971), Vol. 44 Issue 203, pp 95–112.
  • Purvis, June. "Some problems of teaching and learning within the Open University." Educational Research 21#3 (1979): 163–177.
  • Tunstall, Jeremy. The Open University Opens (1974).
  • Dalgleish, Tim. Lifting It Off The Page: An Oral Portrait of OU People 1995, The Open University.

External links

Coordinates: 52°01′30″N 0°42′20″W / 52.02500°N 0.70556°W

Allama Iqbal Open University

The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is a public university in Islamabad, Pakistan. The university is the world's fourth largest institution of higher learning, with an annual enrollment of 1,121,038 students (as of 2010), the majority are women and course enrollment of 3,305,948 (2011). The university has 44 regional campuses and centers throughout Pakistan.Allama Iqbal Open University is an attractive option for common people who can not afford highly expensive education in Pakistan's private universities. Online learning is mostly offered free or at a minimal cost to the consumer.

Distance Education Council

Distance Education Council (DEC) is an organisation based in New Delhi, India responsible for the promotion and coordination of the open university and distance education system and for determination of its standards in India. The Council was constituted under the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act (1985). Its consistence with the duty of the University that takes all such steps as it may deem fit for the promotion of the Open University and distance education systems in the educational pattern of the country and for the coordination and determination of standards of teaching, evaluation & research in such systems; and in pursuance of the objects of the University to encourage greater flexibility, diversity, accessibility, mobility and innovation in education at the University level by making full use of the latest scientific knowledge and new educational technology, and for further cooperation between the existing Universities. It is considered necessary and expedient to establish a Distance Education Council as an authority of the University under Section 16 of the Act.

The Distance Education Council (DEC) is an apex body for the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system in the country. It is empowered, under Statute 28 of the IGNOU Act, to act as an apex body for the ODL system. It is responsible for promotion, coordination and maintenance of standards of the ODL system. The Vice Chancellor of IGNOU is the ex officio Chairperson of DEC.

In June 2013, University Grants Commission has taken over DEC, by establishing Distance Education Bureau which will govern the distance education programs in India. The UGC has constituted a Committee to examine the pending proposals of programme-wise recognition to the institutions.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University is a public institution of higher learning in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. It provides a variety of certificate courses, Diploma and degree programs through distance education mode, and other flexible mediums for its students. It is named after Indian political leader Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar.

Holly Willoughby

Holly Marie Willoughby (born 10 February 1981) is an English television presenter, model, and brand ambassador. She is currently the co-presenter of This Morning (2009–present) and Dancing on Ice (2006–2011, 2018–present) alongside Phillip Schofield.

Since 2008, Willoughby has been a team captain on ITV2's Celebrity Juice alongside Fearne Cotton. From 2012 to 2015, she presented the revived television series Surprise Surprise, replacing original presenter Cilla Black. Other TV work includes BBC's The Voice UK (2012–2013), Play to the Whistle (2015–2017) and The Xtra Factor (2008–2009).

In November 2018, Willoughby co-presented the eighteenth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! alongside Declan Donnelly.

Indira Gandhi National Open University

Indira Gandhi National Open University known as IGNOU, is a Central University located at Maidan Garhi, New Delhi, India. Named after former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, the university was established in 1985 with a budget of ₹20 million, after the Parliament of India passed the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 (IGNOU Act 1985). IGNOU is run by the central government of India, and with total active enrollment of over 4 million students, claims to be the largest university in the world.IGNOU was founded to serve the Indian population by means of distance and open education, providing higher education opportunities to all segments of society. It also aims to encourage, coordinate and set standards for distance and open education in India, and to strengthen the human resources of India through education. Apart from teaching and research, extension and training form the mainstay of its academic activities. It also acts as a national resource centre, and serves to promote and maintain standards of distance education in India. IGNOU hosts the Secretariats of the SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) and the Global Mega Universities Network (GMUNET), initially supported by UNESCO.

IGNOU has started a decentralisation process by setting up five zones; north, south, east, west and north-east. The first of the regional headquarters, catering to four southern states, Pondicherry, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, is being set up in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The Ministry of HRD has entrusted the responsibility of developing Draft Policy on Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses to IGNOU.

Islamic Azad University

The Islamic Azad University (IAU; Persian: دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی‎, Dāneshgāh-e Āzād-e Eslāmi) is a semi-private university system in Iran. It is one of the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the world.

Jennie Lee, Baroness Lee of Asheridge

Janet Lee, Baroness Lee of Asheridge, PC LLD HonFRA (3 November 1904 – 16 November 1988), known as Jennie Lee, was a Scottish politician. She was a Labour Member of Parliament from a by-election in 1929 until 1931 and then from 1945 to 1970.

As Minister for the Arts in Harold Wilson's government of 1964–1970, she played a leading role in the foundation of the Open University working directly with Harold Wilson to establish the principle of open access: Enrolment as a student of the University should be open to everyone … irrespective of educational qualifications, and no formal entrance requirement should be imposed.She was married to the Welsh Labour politician Aneurin Bevan from 1934 until his death in 1960.

Jerry Hall

Jerry Faye Hall (born July 2, 1956) is an American model and actress.

McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education (MHE) is a learning science company and one of the "big three" educational publishers that provides customized educational content, software, and services for pre-K through postgraduate education. The company also provides reference and trade publications for the medical, business, and engineering professions. McGraw-Hill Education currently operates in 28 countries, has more than 5,000 employees globally, and offers products and services to over 135 countries in 60+ languages.

Formerly a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, now S&P Global, McGraw-Hill Education was divested from McGraw Hill Financial and acquired by Apollo Global Management in March 2013 for $2.4 billion in cash.Based on the growing demand for classroom technology, McGraw-Hill Education has transitioned from a print-based business model to one based on delivering digital content and technology-enabled learning solutions. This shift has accelerated in recent years with an increased focus on developing adaptive learning systems that enable classroom teaching to come closer to a one-to-one student-teacher interaction. These systems allow personalized learning by assessing each student's skill level and using data to determine how each can progress through lessons most effectively. McGraw-Hill Education provides digital products and services to over 11 million users. In 2013, the company acquired the ALEKS Corporation and after acquiring 20 percent equity stake in Area9 ApS went on to acquire the company, its development partner on the LearnSmart Advantage suite. In 2015 MHE opened a new R&D office in Boston's innovation district. In September 2016 the company acquired adaptive learning technology and content provider Redbird Learning. The company currently offers over 1,500 adaptive products in higher education and digital formats for its major K-12 programs.

National Open University

National Open University (NOU; Chinese: 國立空中大學) is an open university in Luzhou District, New Taipei, Taiwan. National Open University was established on August 1, 1986 along the lines of Great Britain's Open University. Although National Open University originally had entrance examinations, they were later abolished in 1997. Classes were originally conducted over a dedicated radio station, and television channel and internet classroom were later added. Today, National Open University is a full-service, distance learning university fully accredited by the Taiwanese government, and has an annual enrollment of 35,000 students.

Netaji Subhas Open University

Netaji Subhas Open University (NSOU) is a state open university imparting distance education in eastern India.

Open University Malaysia

Open University Malaysia (OUM; Malay: Universiti Terbuka Malaysia) is the seventh Malaysian private university and it is owned by the Multimedia Technology Enhancement Operations (METEOR) Sdn. Bhd, a consortium of 11 Malaysian public universities. It leverages on the quality, prestige and capabilities of its consortium.

The main campus is at Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. In addition to this, there are 37 learning centres throughout Malaysia, out of which 10 are regional learning centres.

As the first open university in the country, OUM initially opened to 753 learners in 2001. A decade later, OUM has over 100,000 students in more than 50 academic programmes. The MQA Rating System for Higher Education Institutions in Malaysia for 2011 (SETARA’11) has rated OUM as a Tier 5 (Excellent) institution.

Open University of Catalonia

The Open University of Catalonia (Catalan: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC; IPA: [uniβəɾsiˈtat uˈβɛɾtə ðə kətəˈluɲə]) is an Internet-centered open university based in Barcelona, Spain.

The UOC offers graduate and postgraduate programs in Catalan, Spanish and English in fields such as Psychology, Computer Science, Sciences of Education, Information and Knowledge Society and Economics. Also, an Information and Knowledge Society Doctoral Program is available that explores research fields such as e-law, e-learning, network society, education, and online communities. It has support centers in a number of cities in Spain, Andorra, Mexico and Colombia.

Open University of Kaohsiung

The Open University of Kaohsiung (OUK; Chinese: 高雄市立空中大學) is an open university in Xiaogang District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. OUK is an agency of the Kaohsiung City Government.

Open University of Sri Lanka

"The Open University of Sri Lanka" (OUSL) (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකා විවෘත විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය, Tamil: இலங்கை திறந்த பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a national university in Sri Lanka. It is unique within the Sri Lankan national university system for being the only university to offer programs of study leading to Certificate, Diploma, Degrees and Postgraduate degrees up to PhD level through the Distance Mode Learning. The degrees awarded by the university are treated as equivalent to degrees awarded by any other Sri Lankan University under the preview of the University Grants Commission.

The OUSL Main Campus ( C010 ) is located in Colombo in Nawala, Nugegoda. There are 8 regional centers in addition to main campus at Nawala. They are;

Kandy Regional Center ( K030 ) - Polgolla, Kandy

Matara Regional Center ( M050 ) - Nupe, Matara

Jaffna Regional Center ( J060 ) - Kokuvil, Jaffna

Anuradhapura Regional Center ( K110 ) - Jayanthi Mawatha, Anuradhapura

Batticaloa Regional Center ( K070 ) - 23, New Road, Batticaloa

Badulla Regional Center - No 18/1, Bandaranayake Mw, Badulla

Kurunegala Regional Center ( K090 ) - Negombo Road, Malkaduwawa, Kurunegala

Ratnapura Regional Center ( C130 ) - Hidellana, RatnapuraThe Open University of Sri Lanka is currently ranked as No.9 among Sri Lankan Universities and No. 6353 among international Universities.

Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University

Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University or STOU (Thai: มหาวิทยาลัยสุโขทัยธรรมาธิราช) is one of two open universities in Thailand.

Tamil Nadu Open University

Tamil Nadu Open University (TNOU) is an Indian institution for open and distance learning established by the government of Tamil Nadu, India. It was founded in 2002 and is based in Chennai.

The university was established by the Legislative Assembly of the government of Tamil Nadu in Act 27 of 2002 to provide access to higher education for those who had been previously unable to pursue it. It opened in 2003, was recognized by the University Grants Commission in September 2015, and is one of five universities approved to offer distance learning outside its state of establishment. As of January 2016 it was one of 14 state open universities in India, which also has one national open university, Indira Gandhi National Open University; as of April 2017 it was one of 111 distance learning institutions in the country. As of December 2017 it offers 113 programmes of study at levels from certificate to post graduate and has 13 academic schools, five support divisions, a media centre and more than 600 learner support centres across Tamil Nadu.Students are admitted under two admission cycles, calendar year (January to June) and academic year (July to December). They include those living in remote and rural areas, working people, handicapped students, housewives and retirees such as a 67-year-old woman who later completed an MA in history with Madras University, and prisoners.

University of the Philippines Open University

The University of the Philippines Open University (also referred to as UPOU, UP Open University, or UP OpenU) is a public research university and distance learning institution headquartered in the town of Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. It was established on February 23, 1995 as the fifth constituent university of the University of the Philippines System. Its mandate is to provide education opportunities to individuals aspiring for higher education and improved qualifications but were unable to take advantage of traditional modes of education because of personal and professional obligations. It is mandated by Republic Act No. 10650, also known as the Open and Distance Learning Act of 2014 to assist the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on their open distance learning functions.The U.P. Open University aims to:

Offer through open and distance learning degree and non-degree programs that are responsive to the needs of learners and of the society of which they are a part;

Develop a system of continuing education to sustain professional growth and promote lifelong learning;

Develop and adapt delivery systems appropriate to distance learners;

Provide leadership in the development of open learning and distance education expertise in the country and in the appropriate use of information and communication technologies of education; and

Make instructional packages accessible to various publics through collaborative arrangements, institutional agreements, and other appropriate mechanisms.

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