•18 May 2020, 11:08•Edited by the author on 18 May 2020, 19:58
Section 1, Activity 1.4
This thread is for section 1, activity 1.4
You have now learned more about the OU, its students and its ethos. Did anything surprise you? Has it changed your view about The Open University at all?
These are examples of the type of posts we might expect to see:
"I was surprised by how many people with disabilities study with the OU"
"I was surprised by how many young people under 25 study with the OU. I used to think that OU students were retired people and older people who had missed an opportunity to go to university earlier in life"
"I was surprised at the OU being described as a social movement as much as a university. It has made me want to work with the OU more than ever"
Use the "Reply" button below to contribute to this discussion
It hasn’t really surprised me (I’m current Students Association President and so am generally expected to be able to reel off facts and figures about the OU at the drop of a hat :-) ) - but it was a useful reminder of how unique the profile is of our students is.
No surprises for me. Like Cath this served as a useful reminder of all the great things that the OU does. Further, having attended a graduation ceremony towards the end of last year it was fantastic to see and hear about the impact that studying with us can have on people. Hearing the testimonies in the video was a good reminder of why I work hear.
I think it is fantastic that so many people with disabilities can study with the OU as I have seen them struggle with the crowds in conventional universities. It is great that people in all walks of life have a chance to change their futures, which they often missed at an earlier stage.
I knew many under 25's were studying with the OU, but did not realise that the percentage was so high. I wonder if it is different in Scotland where the students do not pay their own fees?
•4 Jun 2020, 22:00•Edited by the author on 4 Jun 2020, 22:01
I am quite fortunate to be a moderator on the Discord group for OU STEM so I have experienced through direct communication the diversity of the students. If I had been asked this question a couple of years ago I may have been more surprised by how far the OU travels around the world and at the percentage of under 25's.
I am now though, after meeting so many under 25's studying with the OU, in the process of preparing my teen who is currently in college with continuing his education through the OU.
The ethos of the OU as a community was particularly touching for me to read. I agree completely as I definitely had that feeling whilst studying, that we were all in this together. It is surprising how bonded you can feel with groups of people you have never met or seen.
I was also surprised at the number of under 25's using the OU to study. I would have guessed a much lower percentage.
As a research student at the OU, I was already aware (and the beneficiary of) the OU ethos. What always surprises me, however, is how immense the student body is: how many numbers of students, and how many places in which they live.
I am also always amazed to learn how dedicated the students are. It is clear that it sometimes takes many, many years to complete a degree, but the students do it! Very inspiring.
I wasn't surprised at the percentage of under 25's studying at the OU as when I have been to centres to take my exams the majority were of that age. Also with the increased advertising that the OU has done, more people are becoming aware of the advantages of flexible studying and working at the same time.
I was thinking the same, especially as the OU is already well established as a distance learning institute and so won't suffer from any of the teething troubles that other universities will encounter as they move sideways to include more remote learning for their students.
•3 Aug 2020, 11:55•Edited by the author on 3 Aug 2020, 11:56
I think it goes beyond simple numbers. My sister is quite severely physically disabled and the OU was an obvious choice for her. She graduated with a first. After this she tried for a masters with a top brick uni, however, although her tutor was very supportive, the institutional flexibility and support simply wasn't there so she dropped out in the end. Didn't put her off though; she eventually came back and completed an MA with the OU. It's a story I've heard from others; unlike many organisations, the OU actually takes its disability policy seriously and tries to adapt to sudents' needs, not the other way around.
There are still 25% of the students not working and focusing on their studies as 75% work part time or full time However, maybe most of the 25% are disabled It's a different structure compared to other universities Definitely
As a disabled person, the figures didn't really surprise me as it is an obvious choice. However, I did my BA and PGCE at a brick university and my Master's with the OU. I found the level of support and accessibility was leaps and bounds ahead with the Open University. Nothing is too much trouble, and I would imagine due to the inclusive, supportive nature of study, retention would be at a much higher level. It would be interesting to see those figures.
I think you might need to contextualise that John - I'm of an age where everyone is younger! How young were the younger students on the course you've just finished? What was the course? Did you enjoy it?
The pandemic has highlighted institutions who specialise in remote, off-site study. The OU has has naturally perfected this type of blended and flipped learning style, where the quality study materials are combined with regular tutorials and being assigned a dedicated tutor to assist during studies. This method of learning is here to stay and I feel if a nationwide survey was carried out there would be an overwhelming support for the method.
I was interested that ~75% of registered students were working either part-time or full-time. I think that's quite a amazing statistic. Especially since it seems that continual education to keep pace with changing society and technology are increasingly inevitable.
The word that resonated with me was 'responsive' - and I think that really captures my own approach to my work as an AL. Each student is unique with a unique set of needs and interests, and I like the challenge that responding to individual difficulties presents.
I think the student profile was probably similar to what I was expecting. I'm not particularly surprised by 34% being under 25 now. It would be interesting to know how the breakdown of students has changed over recent years with the increase in fees. When I was younger I took several modules just out of interest (rather than to contribute towards a degree) when the fees were much lower. I think this is much less affordable now, and not an option for many people.
I am not surprised so much as encouraged by the statistics given and the ethos of the OU. As a current OU student half way through my third level I have met/interacted with many people, both students and tutors and have always found them to be helpful and friendly.
It is definitely a movement for change and one that must continue.
Personally it did not come as a surprise. I have found the OU to be inclusive and aware that students are likely to feel alone due to distant learning, so more effort is made to promote a social side. I have been more involved in the OU as a distance learner than i ever was at a brick university. As a disabled student i can add that the disabled students association are incredibly supportive of each other.
The high number of under 25, took me quite by suprise. But if I think about it, it is a rather good solution for who, for family reasons, NEEDS to work as soon as he finishes college (if he has finished it).
I was not surprised that such a large number of students with disability study with the OU. However, I was a little surprised by the percentages of people under the age of 25 study with the OU; I expected lower such as 26%.
I was surprised to see how many students DO have an A level qualification. OU is so good at doing a different job to the educational "sausage machine" that I imagined there'd be a higher proportion of people for whom that hadn't worked well.
As a former AL (M266, the now defunct Natural and Artificial Intelligence) it's very exciting to reacquaint myself with the mission of the OU.
I remember the diversity and the motivation among my students. Having taught at a few 'bricks and mortar' institutions as well, I remember the OU students with fondness for their curiosity and tenacity.
Like other people on the forum, I was surprised by the number of students aged under 25 who complete their studies at the OU. I had the (wrong) impression that it was mainly retired people and mature students who 'attended' the university.
I was another one surprised that the number of under-25s was that high. Having said that, if fees had been as they are now when I was originally at uni (I was one of the last years not to pay any), I would have seriously considered the OU. As it was, the OU never crossed my mind at the time. I'd be interested in seeing how the figures have changed with fees coming in - and increasing.
I love the statement "We need to learn as much as we need to breathe, eat, drink. It’s fundamental to our humanity.” But sadly humans seem to unlearn this innate desire to learn at the latest when they start school. During my OU courses I head from a number of fellow learners that school made them feel stupid and useless and they dropped out.
I was surprised about the number of under 25s at I never came across a student that young during my studies but it is great to read that there are a young adults who see the value of the OU.
Being a new member of the OU staff I discovered all of this in the induction and new staff courses. I remember I was surprised about the high number of people with disabilities who can access higher education and graduate thanks to the OU. I was impressed from the level of inclusivity at the OU and the fact that the student's starting point does not matter, but the important thing is where they arrive.
I was really surprised that such a high proportion of students are under 25 when they enrol. And I was also surprised that about a quarter of UK OU students lived in areas in the most deprived quarter. I hadn't realised what a force for social justice the OU is.
I have been an OU student for a long time now and the demographics of the OU student body don’t really surprise me. However I don’t remember so many under twenty fives when I started out thirty years ago.
I am thrilled to find the OU highlighting life-long learning and the human need for it. I worry that in many schools in the UK learning is seen as something that must be endured or 'got through', or a means to an end - which it can be, rather than seen as something that is life enhancing, despite enthusiastic teachers. This contrasts with other places that I have taught, in Barcelona my friend's grandmother enrolled in a university course at 93 years old from the desire to learn.
I was surprised to know that 23% of students come from deprived area and 34% of students are under 25. It has made me realise the importance of OU teaching as a social movement. I understand better now that how vital it is to contribute to OU teaching in order to help young (and old) generation become the best version of themselves despite difficult situations they deal with.
I was surprised by the huge number of students with disability, I don't know why! Of course this makes sense, I just hadn't joined those dots. I'm so glad you've brought this to my attention, as I'm always looking ahead to the educational future of my autistic son with ADD. I guessed the OU would be streets ahead in terms of Edtech also, but again hadn't specifically thought of this in terms of assistive technologies. It's great to hear more detail of your clearly trailblazing inclusivity! :)D
I was surprised by how wide reaching the OU is, I mean the number of countries using the University. The numbers are staggering, especially the 25k with disabilities. It goes to show how the OU is very accessible. With such a world wide campus, applying to be an AL in the South West seems such a tiny area to cover.
It has surprised me that the OU has the highest number of disabled pupils in Europe. Also that a 34% of the alumni comes from the 25 most deprived areas in the UK. Now I understand that the OU, being a university, is also a social movement. Unique in the world!
I was amazed to learn how many people are studying and taking courses in open university. It was a concept in my mind that only retired or the people who missed the opportunity to study further after high school take OU courses for professional development but I was wrong. I am very impressed...!!
•2 Sep 2021, 13:27•Edited by the author on 2 Sep 2021, 13:28
To be honest, I'm not really suprised either about the statistics, nor about the OU ethos, but then I spent thirteen years studying with the OU for a degree, so I guess a lot of it sunk it.
What perhaps is missing from the questions is prehaps some statistics on older people. I started studying with the OU when I was in my late forties, and graduated in my sixties, as did my wife. It would be interesting to know how many other older people use the OU to get back into learning later in life
I am not surprised. I am OU student since 2016 with my first module TU100. I am still a student as I am waiting the result of TM470, but during these five years I have realized how important has been the path I have followed.
Since I finished my A level school in Italy and start my job career as IT specialist I never stopped to study and keep me updated. Now, thanks to the OU I am doing it differently because I am now different, with a consciousness that I will be forever a student because more I know, more I want to know.
I am part of OU cisco networking Academy from last 2 years and was thinking that they are just offering it related courses, but surprise to see there range of schools and institutes.it has really made me want to work with OU more then ever.
I can recall when the OU opened in 1965. I had just completed my A level studies. Since then, interest in a number of subjects has caused me to enrol in many courses. The first few were taught in a classroom setting. I can recall one course for which I was sent learning materials by post each week.
After the public was able to afford computers and the internet became available for all, all courses in which I enroled were online. I could work, earn money and learn at the same time. It was wonderful. It allowed every person who had such an interest to be able to study at a pace acceptable for them.
Online learning has enabled anyone to learn and obtain a recognised qualification - not only those who could afford to go to University. The first truly online couse on which I enroled was an OU couse.
I have previously studied with the OU and had
the pleasure of meeting and learning with other students from a wide range of
backgrounds and age groups. I am surprised by the number of younger students who
choose to study with the OU.