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The Open University

(16 Posts)
Teetime Sat 14-Apr-18 15:58:44

The OU beloved of many of us here is in crisis we are told in todays newspaper. The crisis is as a result of falling student numbers since they increased the fees by 300%. Is it only me who thinks they should have had a strategy for dealing with the inevitable outcome?
I had always planned on doing more OU courses in retirement but at £3000 a 60 point course its unaffordable. I'm doing the Future Learn courses but it's not the same.

jenpax Sat 14-Apr-18 16:59:20

I thought about doing my masters with the OU but the fees sound horrendous😳

fiorentina51 Sat 14-Apr-18 17:12:19

We obtained our degrees through the OU in the 1990's. As both my husband and I were unemployed we paid a nominal £10 per course taken. Once employed, my husband paid the full fee, which was still affordable on our limited budget.
A new world was opened up to us and, for me, it led to a career in teaching.
In my view, the OU is no longer Open to all as it used to be. I know of several people who once would have studied there had the fees not been so high.
So sad.

POGS Sat 14-Apr-18 18:08:22

The Daily Mail has been running with this story for a while in support of the the OU.

I think there are many voices from all sides of politics who are totally in favour of supporting the OU also.

vampirequeen Sun 15-Apr-18 07:33:08

It's sad that the funding has been pulled from the OU. Like fiorentina51, I did my degree with the OU and paid only a nominal fee. If you qualified for reduced fees they even loaned you the set books and paid for the postage each way. It used to be so exciting when the box of books arrived. The OU gave me the opportunity to get a degree and change career. I could never have done it without them.

OldMeg Sun 15-Apr-18 07:37:04

Yet another nail in the coffin of education in this country.

OldMeg Sun 15-Apr-18 07:42:43

It seems that Peter Horrocks, the Chancellor of the OU, resigned yesterday.

This below from the Guardian
Welcoming his resignation, UCU regional official Lydia Richards said: "The Open University is a fantastic institution and Horrocks' replacement must defend the unique role it plays in our education system and the work of its staff."
She also called for his plan to cut staff and courses to be axed.
However, the university governing body is expected to continue with the bulk of the plans Mr Horrocks drew up on changing the university curriculum.

M0nica Sun 15-Apr-18 07:51:27

DD is doing an OU degree at the moment. She has one more year to go. She started it before the last hike in fees so has been able to continue paying those fees. She says the current plans will effectively reduce the OU to a technical college offering very narrowly focussed vocational courses and nothing else.

But one of the great glories of the OU was its ability to lure people in with taster courses and then, once tempted back to learning enable those who would never have got into university because they didn't have A levels, or sometimes even O levels, to get a degree. It enabled people to study for a degree while still working. Many mature students cannot afford to stop work for three years to study for a degree in a conventional manner.

It will be a tragedy if the OU is reduced to a tech. It will limit the opportunities in life of so many people who for a range of reasons were unable to take the convebtional university route.

TwiceAsNice Sun 15-Apr-18 08:03:10

I studied for a degree with the OU between 1996-2003 . It took me 7 years,I was working full time and bringing up a family , the courses were equal 30 or 60 points each and you had to achieve 300 points before you could graduate. I did 2 30 point courses so it took me an extra year. My fees at the time were around £300-400 a year as not all courses were the same price plus books, travel to tutorials an d postage to send your assignments back. I could afford it at the time but I didn't find it cheap and it had t o be factored into my budget. However I then went on to a local university, got a post grad qualification and changed careers in my 40's something which made me very happy. I feel sorry that it sounds as if that opportunity is spoilt for people now but the OU was never necessarily the cheap option

silverlining48 Sun 15-Apr-18 09:14:57

I always admire d anyone who completed an OU degree. I did mine full time as a mature student via an access course. It was hard as i had left school without exams. OU gave people in similar situations the opportunity to study inexpensively fitting this around their lives. It’s hard studying mostly on your own at home and requires focus and determination,

jenpax Sun 15-Apr-18 09:57:41

I got my degree at a conventional university and my post graduate professional qualifications also conventionally , however I have done a few short courses with the OU and much enjoyed them.
I would love now to study for my masters degree, and the OU would have been a perfect fit as I cannot afford to stop work to do the course! But the horrendous fees are definitely putting me off😳

Teetime Sun 15-Apr-18 10:24:17

The OU was the first concept for giving access to higher education to those who had not had the opportunity and /or did not have the entry qualifications for a conventional university. For me it was both but also I had to work so it fitted well with my nursing career. Once I had got my degree I became an Associate Lecturer with a small remuneration and I loved it. It must have been a very cost effective way to deliver courses. I do think though that the OU grew at an enormous rate and offered an enormous range of courses. Perhaps if they went back to basics, to the original ethos and delivered more of their courses on line and axed some of the more esoteric courses they could make courses a little more affordable

Izabella Sun 15-Apr-18 13:47:59

I did arts and science degrees with the OU. My original vocational degree was at an actual university. Several decades between the first and subsequent ones. My observations are how 'political' the OU was in comparison and I almost felt I had to submit work presented from an 'approved' viewpoint. However reading about current university items in the media I think it is probably fair to say it is a fairly widespread phenomenon. An MA was struggled through from a financial point of view and I am sad about what I see as the impending demise of the OU which was such a positive innovation from Harold Wilson.

annodomini Sun 15-Apr-18 14:55:45

I came to realise, belatedly, that I should have done languages for my first degree, rather than English, which I did. So, when I heard that the OU was starting language courses, I applied straight away and thoroughly enjoyed those three years for the Diploma in French, including summer schools at Caen which were fun and very informative. Some years later, I decided to take a course in Creative Writing which I enjoyed for the interaction with other students on line, thought the tutor was not up to the usual OU standard. Much as I'd like to do one of their short courses, I can't now afford them, though they were a lifeline for me and many others.

nightswimmer Wed 09-May-18 15:17:32

Very sad the way this has gone, so many interesting courses have been cut and the fees are now eye watering. A bit less if you live in Wales, Scotland or N. Ireland I believe (correct me if I am wrong)?

grannyactivist Wed 09-May-18 16:39:32

I studied Social Psychology with the Open University in the 1980's and just had a look to see what it would cost if I took the course now and it's eye wateringly expensive:
At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £17,568