Distance Learning - the final frontier in education

Assured Angel By Assured Angel, 2nd Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Training

Everyone is different. The way you eat, sleep, talk, interact and learn is unique only to you. Online education is a breakthrough and a godsend for those who always wanted to learn but did not have the time or money to do so. The Open University (OU) has allowed people to become qualified in many areas - enabling them to take steps to becoming what they desire to be.

Keeping an open (university) mind when it comes to further education - Distance learning in the United Kingdom

The current economic crisis has not only crunched many businesses causing them to close or run adrift in the turbulent financial seas. However, it is not only companies, big and small that are feeling the pinch but also the individual. People are looking for newer, more cost effective ways of doing things from shopping to doing their jobs so that they can squeeze the last penny from whatever they earn. Gym memberships have dropped, people are ditching their expensive groceries for 'buy one get one free' offers at the store and sales are now more the norm than usual. The amount of new clothes I have been able to purchase in the new month alone is huge...but the bill for them isn't. The credit crunch, as well as shaking people and businesses, has given some individuals the push that they needed to do something different with their lives. It has enabled them to break out of their long established comfort zones and take a risk or two. Some have travelled the world, some (like me) have started a new business and some have decided to go back to school to get learn new skills or develop and update existing ones.

In the United Kingdom, as well as having 'bricks and mortar' universities, we have what we call the Open University. This is the epitome of 21st century learning as it has taking education outside the classrooms and lecture halls and into people's homes and even their workplaces. This article will look at this in some detail - giving a brief history of it, how it works and what it has to offer the modern day, would be student. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin...

A brief overview of Open University
The Open University was formed in 1969 and enrolled its first students in 1971. To date, it has over 180,000 students enrolled and that includes over 20,000 overseas. Since its inception, over 3 million people have used the Open University to gain a qualification. Approximately 70% of the students enrolled study part time as many of them already have full time jobs.
The University was set up to open to as many people as possible so there are no entry requirements for most of the courses that are offered. However, the students do have to be at least 16 (there is no upper age limit) and if they are studying at another university, they need to get permission from the principal of that institution. You, as a student, can enter as many courses as you like but it is highly recommended you do one, maybe two at the most as it is difficult to find time to study for many subjects all at the same time. The administrative base is in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire but has some regional centres in all the UK districts as well other European countries. In addition to bachlor and masters degrees, there are other qualifications that one can study such as diplomas and certificates.
Students come from all walks of life from those in the armed forces to the disabled to those in prison. The cost of a bachelor degree is between £3000 and £4500 and some students receive financial help. Students from the EU do not get this help so end up paying more. For more about costs, go to

Teaching and Assessment
The Open University (OU) uses a wide range of methods to educate its students. They include written and audio materials, Internet, DVD and even TV. They are supported by Associate Lecturers who help and support the students during the course of their studies. Most of the OU courses are assessed using a mixture of examinations and coursework. The coursework takes the form of essays, assignments and multiple-choice questions.

The University has been highly commended for its teaching and the results that it has achieved since the time that it came into force. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education rated the teaching in the Open University as excellent. A national survey of student satisfaction has put the Open University in first place on two occasions. So whatever you think about distance learning, the OU has shown that it can work no matter who you are or where you are from.

I hope that this gives you an insight into the OU in the UK and I would like to hear from anyone who has either graduated from OU, is studying with the OU or is thinking about it. I have friends who are improving their skills and getting qualified using this method and I have heard nothing bad about it at all...it must be a conspiracy...


Education, Learning, Learning Process, Open University, University

Meet the author

author avatar Assured Angel
Talented and experienced freelance writer/ businesswoman with a legal background whose engaging, confident but professional attitude is reflected in her writing.
I have also written extensively (over 100 articles) and continue to do soon many subj...(more)

Share this page

moderator Sam Wormleighton moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Rohit19
3rd Jul 2010 (#)

Wow... that was an informative article.
I am following you and hope you will follow me too.


Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?