But we are a distance learning university?

Something that has struck me over the last (almost) five years at the Open University is the view amongst many within our lofty spires. That anyone engaging with us should immediately understand the fact that we are distance learning based.

Irrespective that most souls have experienced and term based, autumn start education that is primarily in the classroom with some out of class homework and assessment.

So, when we have software that is campus licenced and the software providers struggle with our distributed model. Or a potential partner asks to speak with our students at a lecture. The first response is “don’t they know?” of course they bloody well don’t we are still quite unique.

I still think back to 2002/3 when a dear friend and colleague was slowly coaching me in how the OU worked. Jointly there was an idea that we could create a module in Cisco networking, but it needed me to coach him in the dark arts of Cisco, as he needed to do the same for distance learning and me. I am sure that he needed more patience with me, rather than the other way around.

I feel that we have to partly resign ourselves to the idea that we have a continual message to share. Its the fault of no one, just the burden we have to bear.


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