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    Annual Report // 2008/09


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    The Open University is open to people, places, methods and ideas Contents The Open University promotes educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education Forewords Review of the year 40th Anniversary to all who wish to realise their 04 Vice-Chancellor 08 Digital round-up 34 Milestones ambitions and fulfil their | 06 Pro-Chancellor 12 People potential CO NT ENT S 07 Chancellor 14 Excellence 16 Research Through academic research, | 18 Widening Participation pedagogic innovation and collaborative partnership it seeks 20 Employer Engagement to be a world leader in the 22 Worldwide design, content and delivery 24 Broadcasting of supported open and 26 Darwin distance learning 28 Strategy 30 Support 32 Financial highlights and yearly results 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 02 03


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    Vice-Chancellor’s foreword This year The Open University marked its around the globe in projects a vast majority of 40th anniversary and it has been a year of them would never before have had the celebration and reflection as well as an opportunity to participate in. We have seized the opportunity to bring to the attention of the public moment and made a huge contribution to the the enormous strides we have made in a variety celebration of Charles Darwin’s anniversaries of fields – not least in harnessing what Harold and in the process enrolled students on new Wilson called the “white heat of technology”. courses on the subject of evolution. He conceived of the OU originally as “a university All this and a whole lot more. Read all about it of the air”, a university without walls, and – either in this report or on our website. imagined it in partnership with a host of institutions | including, of course, the BBC. He could not have I would like to pay tribute to those alumni, friends, | F O REW O RD foreseen the internet and the joys of sharing trusts and corporations who have so generously F O REW O RD educational and research material with millions supported the University in its ambitions over the of people, even beyond the BBC, from virtually years. They have directly contributed to the every country in the world. He could only be success of this institution and The Open | enthralled, as we are, by the opportunities the University is grateful for their support. | internet brings for reaching the unreached, for collaborating, for participating in the knowledge This is my last Annual Report as Vice-Chancellor. production process, for including voices that As Harold Wilson and his colleagues knew all have not been heard in these ways before, for those years ago, the future of open and distance partnering with institutions all around the world. learning lies with technology, a technology that combines with human ingenuity to deliver ever As you read through the pages of this report more possibilities. As I hand over the reins to you will be lost in admiration at how the staff Martin Bean, I leave secure in the knowledge and students of the OU have found ways to that the OU is in good hands – and I wish him harness the technological possibilities available and the institution well. and set them to work in furthering our founding mission and goals – and in so doing Professor Brenda Gourley demonstrated our leadership in the open and Vice-Chancellor “lies The future of open and distance learning with technology – a technology that distance learning movement and indeed our leadership in the sector generally for innovation in education. combines with human ingenuity to deliver Quite apart from our marvellous Virtual Learning Environment (an open source initiative using ever more possibilities Moodle) and our students’ heavy use of its myriad ” opportunities, there are astonishing numbers of people visiting our OpenLearn site and downloading our material from the iTunes U store (all free). We were one of the first universities to establish an online repository of our published research. Some OU research is using the ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 capacity of the web to involve people from all 04 05


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    Pro-Chancellor’s foreword Chancellor’s foreword By the time this report is published Brenda Gourley will have retired as The OU occupies a very distinctive position in the digital age Vice-Chancellor and been replaced by Martin Bean. Brenda has steered the OU through some very difficult times – intense competition, rapid Thanks to its structure, and its early relationship with broadcast technology, technological change, a significant change in the OU’s funding arrangements it can legitimately lay claim to having been a ‘virtual institution’ long before and the worst economic crisis any of us have experienced the term had even been invented Despite all this, the OU is stronger than ever; the leader in Consequently, the OU is ideally positioned to the “part-time” market, the champion of social justice as seize the vast opportunities of the digital age it affects higher education, a strong balance sheet and a which are allowing millions of learners to gain global brand. Brenda must take the major share of the access to a vast and dynamic ‘web’ of information, | credit for this situation, but she would be the first to people and digital tools. | F O REW O RD acknowledge the contribution of all her colleagues. We F O REW O RD all wish Brenda well in her retirement. We live in an environment in which learners of all ages and backgrounds expect an entirely new Her successor, Martin Bean, will have to tackle some form of engagement with the world around them; | daunting problems; the impact of tight control over public one that doesn’t simply rely on accessing | expenditure, the effect of a depressed economy on knowledge, but on creating and sharing new potential students and even tougher competition. But the forms of understanding. OU with its unique basic values coupled with its capacity to adapt to changing circumstances, will, I believe, under For the OU, this is a quite extraordinary moment Martin’s leadership, and through the continued support – we are seeing the model of virtual and distance of our friends and donors, emerge stronger than ever learning, which we have championed for so long, when the dust eventually settles. take off on a scale well beyond anything Jennie Lee and her colleagues could ever have dreamed of. Baron Haskins of Skidby Pro-Chancellor I believe that the OU, by taking ownership of the ethos that drives these new means of learning, can help produce a generation of creative people capable of dealing with the immense challenges I first heard Brenda speak at a conference in Hong of this new and extraordinarily difficult century. Kong some 15 years ago. It’s no exaggeration New Vice-Chancellor As Chancellor, I’m incredibly proud of the record to say that she electrified the room that day, and she’s been doing the same wherever and Martin Bean started his new role as of achievement set out in this report. I am whenever I’ve had the privilege of watching her Vice-Chancellor of The Open University confident that the OU will continue to prosper in action ever since. on 1 October. He joins the OU from the and grow in a digital environment that offers Microsoft Corporation, having more than 20 outstanding opportunities for its staff and students The Open University owes Brenda an enormous years’ experience in training and education, by enabling them to use digital tools to share their debt of gratitude, the full magnitude of which may and holding senior executive positions in North learning in ways that weren’t remotely possible not be immediately apparent. It lies in the heroic America, Asia Pacific and Europe. He recently in an analogue era. work she did in stabilising our financial position, moved to the UK from the US with his wife and fighting our corner against all-comers and creating three daughters. I’ll certainly be doing everything I can to make sure an institution that is in every respect ‘fit-for- Image: Andy Pini that the OU is at the forefront of learning in this purpose’ for the 21st century. ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 digital age; that we help equip all of our students with the knowledge, the understanding and the Along with all of her colleagues I can only thank skills to triumph over both the opportunities and her, and wish her a fulfilling ‘retirement’ in the challenges that lie ahead. whatever cause she decides to throw herself into. Lastly, I’d like to pay my own tribute to our retiring Lord Puttnam of Queensgate Vice-Chancellor, Brenda Gourley. Chancellor 06 07


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    The Open University continues to act as a beacon in the global open access movement, exploiting a wide range of digital and new media in delivering its mission of making high-quality educational resources available to all | | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR Digital round-up | | Platform December 2008 saw the soft launch of the OU’s community website, Platform. Providing a vibrant virtual community for OU students, alumni and staff – and anyone else with an interest in education and learning – the site has attracted close to one million “Being open to all is fundamental unique users. Platform considers its community to be not only formal members – current and previous students, retired and active for the OU and staff – but also anyone with an interest in learning and education that means making in its broadest sense, in line with the OU’s mission and web 2.0 sure no one is philosophies. excluded from the www.open.ac.uk/platform opportunity for Bridging the Digital Divide higher education In September 2008 the OU launched a new six-month pilot scheme entitled Bridging the Digital Divide which aimed to encourage that we offer students in 10 locations across the UK to gain access to new and because they advanced computer technology at participating libraries or online can’t get online centres. Will Swann, Director, Students at the OU, said: “Being open to all is fundamental for the OU and that means making sure ” no one is excluded from the opportunity for higher education that we offer because they can’t get online.” ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 VLE A software system designed to support teaching and learning in an educational setting, the VLE – the Virtual Learning Environment – grew considerably in 2009 with more than one million visits being recorded for the first time in March and sustaining a 60 per cent higher level of use than 2008. 08 09


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    Digital round-up iTunes U Open University content reached number one on the iTunes U downloads chart with the video Bottled Water achieving 19,471 downloads in just four days. Bottled Water is an animated video which looks at where bottled water comes from and its impact on the environment. It forms part of the OU course, U116 Environment: journeys through a changing world. | Some 156 albums were produced for iTunes U | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR during 2008/09 and in July 2009 the OU reached five million downloads, now averaging 140,000 Virtual microscope iSpot OU’s FlashMeeting breaks Devolve Me downloads per week. The OU’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) in Anyone with even a passing down distance barriers Twitter user Stephen Fry collaboration with the Science Faculty developed interest in the natural world will The Open University’s prompted a surge of traffic to an www.open.ac.uk/itunes a world-leading virtual microscope – the first of be fascinated by the OU’s new FlashMeeting project is Open University website after its kind – for use in the new S276 Geology iSpot website. The site enables breaking down barriers to posting a message that the YouTube course. The new web-based microscope everyone, from casual distance by providing a real- OU’s online evolution tool | In September 2008, The Open University | enables students to view high-quality images of observers to experienced time video conferencing tool for Devolve Me was “Coolissimo”. launched its own YouTube channel with more a rock on their computer screen without having wildlife watchers, to post students and staff through their The number of unique visitors than 300 videos to extend its commitment to to go to a laboratory. The virtual microscope can photos of flora and fauna, and desktops using a plug-in to to the game peaked at 52,523 broadening access to education. Dubbed also be downloaded onto iPods and iPhones. have them identified by an Adobe Flash 8.0 software. To on 12 February 2009, Darwin’s OUview, it contains four distinct areas, or expert or other users. A link to date, the technology has been bi-centenary, with many of those channels – OU, Learn, Life and Research. The http://news.kmi.open.ac.uk/11/1112 Google Maps enables users to used for student discussions, directed to the website from OU was one of the first UK universities to launch see where else the species tutor-moderated meetings, social media networks. The site on YouTube, and in its first year has achieved 1.5 G20 Summit have been spotted around the virtual seminars, webcasts of has seen over 400,000 visitors, million video views across the four areas. It is The Open University Business School hosted the UK. The OU is working with 14 physical lectures and project 460,000 photos have been currently the largest university collection on academic debate for the London G20 Summit other institutions to develop meetings. devolved and the Darwin activity YouTube. via forums. The forum includes a video of iSpot as part of the Open Air has generated 282,000 enquiries academics and Foreign Secretary David Miliband http://kmi.open.ac.uk/index. www.youtube.com/ou Laboratories (OPAL) initiative. and 1,331 course registrations. discussing topics and proposing initiatives for php The site is part of the the Summit. www.open.ac.uk/darwin OpenLearn University’s Biodiversity ReLIVE08 Sixty-four new course units – 419 study hours – www.open.ac.uk/forums/londonsummit Observatory. Virtual worlds such as Second Live mobile teaching aid wins were published to OpenLearn, a website giving www.ispot.org.uk/ Life, CyberTown, There and prestigious award free access to Open University course materials, ESSENCE: World’s first Climate Collective Twinity are increasingly popular The Enabling Remote Activity which, in 2009, has seen its six millionth visitor. Intelligence Event KMi technology helps to environments for augmentative (ERA) project, which helps E-Science/Sensemaking/Climate Change www.open.ac.uk/openlearn assess the severity of MS and immersive business, mobility impaired students (ESSENCE) is the world’s first global climate With a bit of help from KMi education and artistic activities participate fully in fieldwork collective intelligence event, organised by the Open Research Online technology, researchers at the as well as the leisure and activities, won the Special Global Sensemaking network founded by KMi. It A research paper which argues that mobile University of Bologna developed entertainment activities for Needs category of the Handheld is designed to bring together scientists, phones and other portable devices can lead to a new decision support system, which they first became known. Learning 2008 awards. It uses industrialists, campaigners and policymakers, new perspectives and practices in learning called AEDSS (Automatic ReLIVE08 conference, hosted commonly available equipment with the emerging set of web-based sensemaking Expanded Disability Status by The Open University in to set up a wireless network at ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 became the 10,000th item to be deposited in the ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 tools, to pool and deepen our understanding of OU’s research repository – Open Research Scale) which helps neurologists November 2008, was one of the very remote locations, linking the issues and options facing the UN Climate Online (ORO). ORO is visited by 7,500 people measure the disability caused first international conferences to the mobility impaired student Change Conference in Copenhagen in across the world each week and is the 10th to a patient by the onset of bring together educators and to the group undertaking December 2009. largest higher education repository in the UK. multiple sclerosis. technologists to explore the fieldwork. http://news.kmi.open.ac.uk/11/1047 potential of such virtual worlds. http://oro.open.ac.uk http://news.kmi.open.ac.uk/ http://projects.kmi.open.ac. 11/1076 www.open.ac.uk/relive08 uk/era/ 10 11


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    People Satisfied students... of all ages and right across the social spectrum At the other end of the scale, 91-year-old Margaret James from Shropshire is now the proud possessor of a BA Honours degree in “Because I wasn’t earning, the OU paid 75 per cent of my English Literature. The former bank clerk spent tuition fees, and there was a six years studying for the qualification and finally quenched her thirst for knowledge when she great choice of courses. completed her first degree. She graduated at a I didn’t have to start my ceremony in Derby in May 2009. degree again from scratch The numbers game ” | The OU’s Faculty of Health and Social Care | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR Student success REVI EW O F T HE YEAR celebrated its first cohort of social work graduates in 2009. More than 350 students successfully completed the BA (Hons) Social Work across Back to health England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A road accident left Melanie Morgan-Jones with The OU is one of the largest providers of social both physical and learning difficulties, but thanks work education training with more than 10 per to the OU – which assisted Melanie by providing cent of social workers in training. funds to buy synthetic voice software and a | | Dictaphone to help her memorise information – Robert Wiltshire, a father of two from Cornwall, she completed her BA (Hons) Open degree in has been named The Open University’s the same year she completed the London 100,000th Openings student. Openings courses Marathon. She now runs her own healthcare are short introductory courses covering a broad practice. subject area that have been designed specifically to bridge the gap between further and higher Shining diagnosis education. Robert said: “The Openings course For the second year running, an Open University looked like a really good way of getting into student has won the Royal College of studying again. In fact, it helped me learn how Nursing (RCN) Student Nurse of the Year Award to learn.” in Northern Ireland. Avril Montgomery picked up the award – which recognises and rewards Dr Chris Martin, Associate Director in Strategic excellence in professional education – at a Alliances of international pharmaceutical firm ceremony in Belfast in June 2009. Avril works at Pfizer, became The Open University Business the Antrim Area Hospital and is a third year School’s 20,000th MBA graduate. Chris student at the OU. The OU is once again in the top three Higher More and more young people are turning to the combined the pressures of a full-time senior Education Institutions in the UK for student OU for higher education – one of them is Emma managerial position with part-time study to earn Road to recovery satisfaction in the latest National Student Survey. Pye. Emma, 21, spent two years at a conventional his Master of Business Administration. Studying with The Open University gave Ninety-four per cent of the 9,000 OU students university and then transferred to the OU to 26-year-old Kelly Furlonger a focus to aid her who participated in the survey said they were complete her degree. She said: “Because I recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Going satisfied overall with the quality of their course. wasn’t earning, the OU paid 75 per cent of my through the early stages of recovery, Kelly, from tuition fees, and there was a great choice of Godalming, Surrey, turned to learning. She The University also saw a 36 per cent increase courses. I didn’t have to start my degree again began by studying an Openings course on in the number of 18- to 21-year-olds studying from scratch.” Emma achieved a first class Understanding health with The Open University. ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 higher education courses with the OU. honours degree and is now working in her And her dedication and commitment to ‘dream job’ as a countryside management learning has been recognised with a Both ends of the scale warden for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Regional Individual Award as part of Adult With its aim of being open to people, places, Learners’ Week in May 2009. methods and ideas, The Open University has one of the most diverse range of students in the world. This includes students covering all age brackets. 12 13


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    Excellence Maintaining excellence in teaching and research is essential in ensuring The Open University continues to take great strides in offering first class education Forefront of technology Academic accolades The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute The 2009 Institutional Audit by the Quality Assurance Agency for (KMi) plays a key role in placing the University Higher Education confirmed confidence in the University’s at the forefront of research and development in management of the academic standards of its awards, and of the Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Artificial learning opportunities available to students, identifying a number Intelligence and Semantic Technologies, of significant areas of good practice. and Multimedia. Below are just some of the accolades our academic and During the past year, members of the team academic-related staff have received… behind the Enabling Remote Activity (ERA) | | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR project won the Special Needs Innovation Professor Gerard Hastings, Director of the Institute of Social REVI EW O F T HE YEAR category at the 2008 Handheld Learning Awards Marketing, Centre for Tobacco Control Research at The Open in October 2008. The project was set up to University Business School, has been awarded an OBE for services enable physically impaired students access to to healthcare. remote locations during geology summer schools as part of their undergraduate Dr Jacqui Gabb, a Lecturer at The Open University, has been Geosciences degree. named joint winner of a prestigious prize from the British Sociological | Association (BSA) for her book Researching Intimacy in Families. | The institute also excelled at the Asian Semantic Web Conference, winning both the award for best Ian Fribbance, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Social Sciences, research paper for the submission entitled and Pam Shakespeare, Professor of Practice-based Open ‘Identifying key concepts in ontology’ as well Learning in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, have been as the best poster award. awarded National Teaching Fellowships from the Higher Education Academy. And at the Storage Awards 2009, KMi was presented with an award for Green Storage Tim Benton, Professor of Art History at The Open University, is Image: G.M.B. Akash / Panos Pictures Solution of the Year, part of the institution’s drive the joint winner of the Prix du Livre by the Academie d’Architecture to encourage greener IT solutions. in France for his book Le Corbusier conférencier. The award is the most prestigious prize for books about architecture in the French language. Climate change in Bangladesh OU Languages department wins awards An Open University short film, which gives a The Open University’s Department of Languages Professor Jeremy Gray, who teaches the History of Mathematics voice to the people of the Khulna district in has been given two prestigious European Awards at The Open University, has been awarded the prestigious 2009 southern Bangladesh, has won international for Languages in recognition of its ‘Outstanding American Mathematical Society Whiteman Prize. recognition in a major new film competition run contribution to language learning’. by The World Bank. Wendy Rose, Senior Research Fellow in the OU’s Faculty of The European Awards for Languages are Health and Social Care, has been awarded an OBE for services The film Climate Change in Bangladesh – Who given yearly by CILT, the National Centre for to children and families in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Will Pay? explores how the lives of those in rural Languages. A spokesperson for the centre said Bangladeshi communities are affected by storms of the department: ‘[The OU] stands out for Bob Owens, Professor of English Literature at The Open University and flash floods. consistently delivering projects which take has been awarded an Outstanding Academic title by Choice, the language learning one step beyond.’ review journal of the American Library Association, for his work The Open University’s Dr David Humphreys and The Novels of Daniel Defoe. ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 Dr Jessica Budds travelled to Bangladesh in May The Department’s Andante: beginner’s 2008 to advise on the production of the film. Italian course received the Italian Embassy Peter Syme, Director of The Open University in Scotland, has Language Prize. been awarded the OBE for services to higher education. The film forms part of a DVD on climate change for OU course DU311 Earth in crisis: Sue Hooton, Assistant Director of Governance, Performance and environmental policy in an international context. Patient Safety, has been awarded an OBE for services to nursing. 14 15


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    Research The OU continues to grow its reputation for research excellence Is what you see what you get? Harnessing the advantages from human computer interactions is a key feature of several major research programmes. Signature work around the use of state of the art eye-tracking software is being used to develop a range of interactive tools to aid assimilation and analysis of large data sets from both audio and visual feeds with applications from medicine and healthcare, | to security, retail and social gaming. | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR Pharos (Platform for search of Audiovisual Resources across Online Spaces) is a multinational research consortium lead by Capturing the past to inform the future Professor Stefan Rueger from KMi, formed with the objective of developing new infrastructures Scholars in Arts and Humanities also exploit to enable the control, creation and sharing of digital tools as part of their continuing | | multimedia by a diverse range of users. At the exploration of the methods and means by OU our specific expertise in eye-tracking which technology can enable and facilitate technologies is being deployed to resolve and innovative research. aggregate visual images on the basis of their colour, shape and form. The Reading Experience Database (RED) was first launched in 1996 at The Open University http://itunes.open.ac.uk/r/2DvlTQ with a remit to accumulate as much data as A year of celebrations In 2009 Wasafiri celebrated 25 years as a possible about the reading experiences of renowned literary magazine at the forefront of The use of eye-tracking technology to identify British subjects from 1450 to 1945. With In 2008, the excellence of OU research was mapping new landscapes in contemporary participant interest in emerging designs is a key support from the AHRC, this project has now confirmed through the UK Research Assessment international literature. Since its inception it has element of the new ‘Designing with Vision’ morphed into an international resource, with Exercise (2008 RAE) which placed this institution provided consistent coverage of Britain’s initiative – a Leverhulme Trust funded project sister projects being developed around the in the top 50 of UK HEIs. The scale and reach diverse cultural heritage and supported a range led by Dr Steve Garner from our world leading world (e.g. RED-Australia launched in 2009), of the world-class research we undertake in of diasporic and migrant writing worldwide by OU Design Research Group. Given that much as the benefits of the digital archiving protocols Design, Computing, Development Studies, Earth seeking to extend the borders of international current commercial design concerns definitions embedded within the OU project are shared Systems and the Environment, Education, contemporary writing, creating imaginative of product variations, knowledge from this with a wider community. Mathematics, Technology, Social Policy, Social spaces and publishing some of the most project will enable the automation of the Sciences and the Humanities was acknowledged promising new literary voices. process of generating product ‘families’ www.open.ac.uk/Arts/RED by expert reviewers for being problem-focused through shape conjecture. www.wasafiri.org Building on History, an AHRC-funded and people-centred. http://itunes.open.ac.uk/r/JW0Sv Knowledge Transfer project involving The Open The use and application of digital technologies University, King’s College London, the Diocese Another cause for celebration was the continuing These research strands align with the research underpins not only our teaching but also our of London and Lambeth Palace Library, is expansion of Open Research Online, our open of Dr Shailey Minocha from Maths, Computing research. Novel technologies allowing us to deploying Web 2.0 technologies to capture and access repository for research publications. The and Technology who is pursuing an evaluation probe other planets and help tackle climate share the insights secured from historical 10,000th deposit, which was noted by the world of interactive systems by eye-tracking analysis, change, through to new devices to diagnose ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 research and from fresh enquiry into how this ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 press, was a research paper on the subject of building on support from British Telecom and the and treat infectious diseases, form a central religious community responded to the social pervasive technologies and the learning EPSRC. They also dovetail into research in element of OU research. The specific impact of changes and pastoral challenges of the experience by Professor Agnes Kukulska-Hulme. Social Sciences where Dr Graham Pike is digital technologies is also an OU focus, for 19th century. http://oro.open.ac.uk/16987 example, research to explore the changing extending his earlier research into the nature of human identities within increasingly development of facial recognition software for http://itunes.open.ac.uk/r/rlrjJ complex societal models as multimedia forensic applications. platforms and social networking evolve. http://itunes.open.ac.uk/r/4lq0ft 16 17


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    Widening Participation At the start of 2009, the University approved a revised strategy Widening Participation around the globe The University expanded its use of new for Widening Participation which set higher targets for recruiting technologies, and in particular the development students from low socio-economic groups living in the most of educational resources which can be downloaded over the internet, to help bring disadvantaged communities in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales skills training within the reach of more of Africa’s workforce. The Open University has always prioritised Underlining its national role in Widening opening access to eduction to those less Participation in higher education, The Open Supported by the Allan and Nesta Ferguson privileged or difficult to reach, and this action University was awarded a £7.8 million grant Charitable Trust, the OU-led TESSA (Teacher | | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR has been regularly supported by donations from from the Higher Education Funding Council for Education in Sub-Saharan Africa) programme REVI EW O F T HE YEAR alumni and friends. England (HEFCE) in June. The grant was part won the Leadership Award for exemplary open of an initiative to deliver more flexible provision education resources, one of three e-Learning The strategy is backed by new resources to in higher education and improve student Africa awards given annually by the MERLOT extend the community partnership programme retention. It is being focused on three projects Clubcard Partnership Africa Network (MAN). TESSA is developing in English regions with the highest levels of led by The Open University, with its national The University’s pioneering Tesco Clubcard free, open content, multimedia resources for disadvantage. It pushed ahead with the Bridging reach. The Shared Returns project aims to help Partnership was recognised with a Times some 200,000 teachers and teacher educators | the Digital Divide programme, with the support students in danger of dropping out of their Higher Education Award for Marketing Initiative in nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The | of the Higher Education Academy, to find courses by finding them alternative study of the Year in October 2008. For every £10 resources are downloadable via the internet. ways to ensure that such students are not options; SCORE, the Support Centre for Open worth of Clubcard vouchers, Tesco’s 13.5 million disadvantaged by the increasing use of ICT and Resources in Education, will promote the use of Clubcard holders were offered £40 towards OU And in September The Open University was computers in education. As well as those from freely available learning resources and reduce course fees. The scheme was intended to invited by the Ethiopian State Minister of Health disadvantaged backgrounds, the University also universities’ course development costs; and the communicate the message that ‘the OU is open to lead the design and development of a set new targets for course completion and Academic Partnership Hub will promote greater to all’. distance-learning medical curriculum to help attainment of black and ethnic minority students, collaboration between universities to create tackle the acute shortage of doctors. It will and initiated a number of research projects more flexible routes to a degree. New openings in Ireland support medical students receiving face-to-face focusing on this area. The Supporters’ Fund has enabled 400 students training at medical school in Addis Ababa, and to take part in the Cross-Border Openings when they go out to rural areas to continue project which is working across the political their training. divide in Ireland. The project supports people from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds on both sides of the North/South border in entering higher education and increasing their employability. The University stepped in to create the Supporters’ Fund after the project’s initial funding from the European Social Fund ended. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the Cross Border Opening project is continuing and a second stage, the New Openings project, has launched. ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 18 19


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    Employer Engagement In a time of economic uncertainty, The Open University has Beating the recession Learning at work Training nurses In January The Open University The OU teamed up with the For the second year running, an helped people to increase their employability by acquiring the launched a new website to help Campaign for Learning to Open University student won skills that business and industry need. As well as courses leading people outsmart the recession. celebrate National Learning at the Royal College of Nursing It shows how to top-up skills by Work Day across England on (RCN) Student Nurse of the to qualifications, the University added to its growing range of accessing free educational 14 May. It provided free Year Award in Northern Ireland. flexible Continuing Professional Development courses resources, and secure financial activities to give employers Avril Montgomery, who won assistance for fee-paying and staff a taste of OU study the award in June, was one courses. It also offers advice in and of the extensive portfolio of many student nurses and CV building, skills assessment of OU courses which can practising nurses across the | and potential employment benefit businesses and UK gaining qualifications with | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR growth areas, as well as organisations. The OU also the OU while working. information on relevant OU sponsored a Learning at courses and qualifications. The Work Day Award for Inspiring OU graduates the most launch of the website coincided Learning with a cash prize for employable with the New Year’s Jobs the winning organisation. Graduates of The Open Summit hosted by Prime University are among the most Minister Gordon Brown on 12 Technology skills for teachers employable in the UK, according | | January. OU Vice-Chancellor In July a nationwide programme to figures published by the Professor Brenda Gourley was to boost the ICT (Information Higher Education Statistics among those attending. and Communications Agency in February. Their Technology) skills of teachers Destinations of Leavers in www.open.ac.uk/recession was launched by The Open Higher Education survey University and e-skills UK, the showed that more than 80 Engaging employers Sector Skills Council for per cent of OU undergraduates A strategic forum entitled Business and Information are in employment within six Employment and Skills: Technology. The £5.6 million months of graduating. How can the OU engage programme is helping primary, employers? was hosted by secondary and college-level The Open University in July. teachers to meet the needs of Speakers included Chris an increasingly technology- Humphries, Chief Executive savvy generation of young of the UK Commission for people, and make better use of Employment and Skills, who ICT to inspire their learning. described the OU as “still the There is a special focus on most exciting educational providing teachers with first- institution in the UK”. Professor hand experience of the ways in Alan Tait, OU Pro-Vice- which ICT is used in business Chancellor, Curriculum and and to drive innovation. The Awards, described how the OU programme combines state-of- is progressing its employer the-art distance learning with engagement strategy by face-to-face teaching at local increasing its capacity to work venues, and is supported by ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 with employers and respond to ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 an online community. the Government’s agenda. 20 21


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    Worldwide The continued growth in digital methods of communication offers new opportunities to connect with students Africa A new collaborative teaching partnership is to The programme aims to bring innovative ways offer business qualifications in Africa. The Open of learning communicative English to different University and eDegree, a South African private sectors of society using a combination of higher education provider, are offering Open traditional and new methods, including textbooks University business awards in South Africa, and supplementary materials, and information Botswana, Uganda and Zambia. The initial and communication technologies. collaboration will include the Certificate and BA (Hons) Business Studies, and locally recruited EiA is expected to contribute to the economic tutors will guide students through the same growth of Bangladesh by providing English | curriculum and timetable as UK students. language as a tool for better access to the world | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR economy. Its purpose is to significantly increase The collaboration will enable students to gain the number of people able to communicate in access to a UK qualification without having to English to levels that will enable them to leave their home country. The OU and participate fully in economic and social activities eDegree aim to extend cost-efficient, and opportunities. supported blended learning opportunities to students in Africa, culminating in an Santander-Abbey Fellowships | | internationally accepted qualification. The Santander-Abbey Fellowship Scheme offers scholarships for academics from Higher China Education Institutes in Spanish and Portuguese The Open University of China (formerly China speaking countries, encouraging the transfer Central Radio and Television University of knowledge around the world through [CCRTVU]) launched three online distance curriculum development. education courses in 2009, provided in collaboration with The Open University, Joseph Hopkins of the Universitat Oberta de focusing on Student Support, Course Design Catalunya spent six months with the OU looking and Teaching Online. The courses, written by at how learners interact in Synchronous the OU and translated/taught by The Open Audio-Graphic (SAC) environments. The University of China, are aimed at online-delivery research focused on how small groups of Open University Worldwide continues to The Arab Open University teachers, school teachers, university students language learners used the FlashMeeting SAC develop means to deliver online learning The Arab Open University (AOU) is preparing to and other professionals from related fields. tool developed by the OU’s Knowledge Media through partnership to students across the launch its first postgraduate programmes in Each six-week course includes 20 hours of Institute (KMi). world, incorporating projects combining the 2010. The MSc in Software Development and the learning, with online lessons provided in both benefits of online courses with support, MA in English Literature will be offered through English and Mandarin. Broadcast sales and interactive media counselling and often tutoring on the ground. AOU branches across seven Arab countries, Working with a range of media partners from including a new branch opened in Oman in 2008. Bangladesh BBC World, Discovery and local terrestrial New markets are also emerging for generating Graduates will receive an OU validated award English in Action (EiA) is a nine-year programme broadcasters, Open University programming income from video and broadcast output through alongside an AOU qualification. initiated at the request of the Bangladeshi reaches a global audience of more than 270 million the sale of online streaming and downloading Government, with the mission of “changing and is translated into more than 25 languages. rights, complementing the mass interest in Open The MA in English Literature has been adapted learning, changing lives”. Implemented through a The Open University has seen great interest this University production on open source sites and under a consultancy agreement for local cultural partnership between the UK and Bangladesh year in key programmes such as Coast, Rough enhancing international brand awareness. Open needs. The demand for this qualification is governments and a consortium of international Science, Ever Wondered about Food and the ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 University Worldwide continues to work with expected to be high in Arab countries owing to and national partners, EiA will work with education African School and Chinese School programmes. existing and new partners around the world to the recent expansion of the teaching of English in partners in Bangladesh to reach a total of 25 introduce and expand undergraduate and schools, the growth in the number of universities, million primary and secondary school children postgraduate courses, including several African and business and media opportunities for and adult learners. and Arab countries during the past year. graduates proficient in both Arabic and English. 22 23


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    Broadcasting Broadcast The University’s Open Broadcasting Unit reported 150 million viewings of BBC/OU co-produced programmes on BBC channels in 2008/09. Notable achievements included the major primetime BBC One popular science series Bang Goes the Theory, launched in July; the Darwin season (see page 26) and the widely acclaimed landmark History of Scotland series screened on BBC One | | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR Scotland, and BBC Two UK-wide REVI EW O F T HE YEAR Other major new series in this year included Broadband The Barristers (BBC Two), Fossil Detectives The Open Broadcasting Unit began (BBC Four), The Story of Maths (BBC Four) and commissioning broadband projects with the | James May’s Big Ideas (BBC Two), which won objective of connecting with a wider audience than | the Learning on Screen Award. This series also reached through traditional BBC broadcasting. A extended the OU’s broadcast reach by becoming series of three-minute video clips was produced the first OU series to air on the UKTV Dave for YouTube around the key content of AA100 channel. The fourth series of Coast (BBC Two) The arts past and present, the OU’s new achieved four million viewers at its peak – entry-level Arts course. A series of 14 among the highest recorded audience figure broadband podcasts searching for answers to for the programme in the past three years. big ethical questions was made to support the Ethics in real life short course. And The Open University helped to pioneer The Bottom Line series on BBC Radio 4 and BBC News – the first BBC radio programme to become a successful broadband TV programme. Interactive media More interactive media linked to OU/BBC Image: BBC: Bang Goes the Theory programmes was created. For the series James May’s Big Ideas, presenter James May invited visitors to explore some of the ways of getting The OU and BBC 40 years of the OU/BBC BBC One and BBC Two from A to B using a range of transport options. volunteering project partnership celebrating the OU/BBC For the History of Scotland, The Open University In June the OU began working At the 40th anniversary Open 40-year partnership. And a in collaboration with the BBC created a series alongside the BBC on My Story, Unlimited Day in June, the celebration of broadcasting of audio walks around historic locations in a story-telling competition to Open Broadcast Unit and the history with an interactive Scotland, with narration from presenter Neil find the UK’s most remarkable OU Faculty of Maths, timeline showing clips from Oliver and input from local experts – all true stories. The outreach Computing and Technology 40 years of OU broadcasting Image: BBC: Coast accessible directly from the OU or via iTunes. campaign is aimed at ensuring teamed up to present The was created on the OU/BBC ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 For Bang Goes the Theory there was a series a long-term and enduring Digital Age, a technology website open2net – where of interactive science challenges with close links partnership around the area of history exhibition based downloadable ringtone to OU courses, and behind-the-scenes videos volunteering, which is a priority around the BBC4 programme remixes of The Open for YouTube. for both the OU and BBC. Electric Dreams. A 40-second University’s TV fanfare trail ran for four weeks on were also made available. 24 25


  • Page 14

    Darwin The Open University took a truly 360-degree approach to marking the Charles Darwin anniversaries All three programmes were supported by a free Tree of Life poster, commissioned by the Open Broadcasting Unit, created by the consulting academics and produced by Learning and Teaching Solutions. So far, nearly 300,000 people have requested and received a copy. Image: BBC: Jimmy Doherty | in Darwin’s Garden | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR Sir David even remarked that more copies of the poster had The Open University’s Darwin The OU’s Evolution MegaLab been distributed than the first web support also generated gave an opportunity to people edition of On the Origin of considerable interest in the of all ages to see how Darwin’s Species. The poster is still 10-point course entitled Darwin theories are at work in the available via the open2.net and evolution (S170), which is natural world around them and website, which is linked to aimed at introducing the theory that it is not a remote theoretical | | both the BBC site and an OU and its implications to us today, idea. To date more than 65,000 Darwin microsite. to those with little or no records have been generated scientific knowledge. by members of the public. The websites link closely together to ensure a relatively So far there have been 1,331 Earth and Environmental seamless journey from one to course registrations as a result Science Project Officer Andy the other for visitors. of Darwin activity. Tindle also digitised a number of rocks collected by Darwin Image: BBC: Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life The OU’s site features the The core of the course was a on his Beagle voyage to the evolution tool Devolve Me richly illustrated book, 99 per cent Galapagos Islands and Cape which enables users to upload Ape: How Evolution Adds Up, Verde to be used for the Virtual a photograph of themselves edited by Professor of Ecology Microscope – a microscope Units across the University worked together to The year kicked off with Sir David Attenborough and see how they may have Jonathan Silvertown, with sales that allows viewers to view rock produce material across a range of platforms to sharing his views on the theory of evolution and looked 500,000 or 3.7million of 18,000 copies. samples online. See page 10. promote Darwin’s legacy on the 200th anniversary its global significance in Charles Darwin and years ago. of his birth and the 150th of the publication of the Tree of Life. The book was accompanied In addition, the Open On the Origin of Species. The tool went viral with users by a DVD, including clips of Broadcasting Unit produced A total of eight million viewers saw the morphing pictures of their the BBC/OU co-produced a series of Darwin-related The Darwin project was initiated in 2005, when programme, and when it was first aired an friends and family, and sending series Jimmy Doherty In videos and podcasts for the the OU approached Professor Richard Dawkins to estimated one in four people watching television them on, resulting in 500,000 Darwin’s Garden. British Council. present a lecture at the Natural History Museum that night tuned in. visitors. to coincide with the anniversary. Another book, Darwin’s Sacred Other OU programmes were Darwin’s Dangerous Stephen Fry described the tool Cause: Race Slavery and the From there, the OU discussed the possibilities Idea in which Andrew Marr gave a contemporary as “coolissimo” on his Twitter Quest for Human Origins, by of programming to support Darwin year with the context to how the theory influenced political page, in turn prompting an extra Adrian Desmond and James ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 BBC. This resulted in a BBC Darwin season in and religious thinking. 1,500 daily visits to the site. Moore, revolutionised which The Open University was a co-producer Devolve Me was later developed understanding of Darwin’s path in a number of series. And Jimmy Doherty in Darwin’s Garden recreated into iPhone, Twitter and to human evolution through a a number of Darwin’s experiments, which gave Facebook applications. massive investigation into Throughout the year, OU academics gave an insight into the hands-on science behind unpublished letters, family numerous TV and radio interviews about events, Darwin’s great theory. correspondence, diaries and programmes and projects associated with the other official documents. anniversaries. 26 27


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    Strategy The Open University is playing a leading role in the Government’s drive to make the UK the global leader in online learning At present about 35,000 face-to-face modules, which The Schome initiative looks students a year in England do would support a smooth at how new technologies can not complete their higher transition between part-time improve educational provision education courses and many and full-time education with a current focus on the use are not aware of the options according to a student’s of virtual worlds, such as available to them. circumstances. Second Life, to extend thinking about what education systems The funding focuses on three Professor David Vincent, should be like. OU-led projects: Shared Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Strategy), Returns, a regionally based said: “The landscape of higher dICTatED (Discussing ICT, | student retention initiative; education and the needs of Aspirations and Targets for | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR SCORE (Support Centre for today’s students are changing Education) examines why Open Resources in Education); rapidly and in order to address substantial investments in ICT and an Academic Partnership these challenges a collaborative in education around the world Hub which will move the approach is hugely important. does not seem to be having sector towards more flexible proportionally great impacts. education offerings. “Being open with resources and content has always been And eSIR (eStrategy | | SCORE will identify and a part of the OU’s mission to Implementation Review) was promote good practice in widen participation in education. commissioned from the OU by educational technology and Becta (British Educational open resources, helping “We are extremely excited by Communications and institutions develop new the potential that these projects Technology Agency) with the resources and services to present for the sector as a aim of providing advice on the enhance teaching and reduce whole and, most importantly, implementation of aspects of course development costs. for students.” the DfES eStrategy. In June, Vice-Chancellor Designate Martin Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “The success The Shared Returns project The OU is also at the centre The findings highlight that the Bean was selected to join a Government task of distance learning, pioneered 40 years ago by will proactively offer students of three major research most difficult issues are still force, advising on wider strategy to help other The Open University, has been nothing short of advice on continuing their projects to inform government people and the management of universities benefit from the OU’s expertise in a revolution for higher education. studies in higher education. strategy by investigating ways change within complex systems online distance learning. in which ICT can contribute to rather than the technology. “It has opened the doors to a whole new The OU, UCAS and other the ideal education system for The task force is backed by a new Open Learning audience of students who have not only seen partner universities in the the 21st century. Innovation Fund to enable other universities academic success but reaped the wider North-West will work together access and engage future markets that are rewards learning brings. to give information and expected to be worth £15 billion. guidance to students at risk of “An approach to higher education which leaving, or who have left HE. It aims to encourage universities to work emphasises accessibility and flexibility has put the collaboratively to bid for money to develop projects UK at the forefront of e-learning and to build on And the Academic Partnership that help transform the way people gain degrees. this achievement with a new £20 million fund to Hub will bring about closer support centres of excellence for online learning. collaboration to deliver change This came as HEFCE awarded the OU £7.8 million and innovation that will move ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 funding from its Strategic Development Fund “I am also supporting The Open University with the HE sector towards more (SDF) to capitalise on its national reach by additional funding to further its role as a national flexible provision for students. encouraging universities to work together to leader, working with other institutions, to develop improve student retention and promote a more distance learning.” This could see the introduction flexible approach. of a more adaptable degree with both distance learning and 28 29


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    Support Donations and volunteer support help us make a quality education available to anyone, anywhere Support for teaching and health education Flower-rich meadows are an integral part of our in Africa heritage, our landscape and our natural capital. With the support of The Allan and Nesta Ferguson Meadow was once the dominant land use on Charitable Trust, the OU has been able to further almost all the floodplains in England, but Britain develop the TESSA (Teacher Education in has lost 98 per cent of its flower-rich meadows Sub-Saharan Africa) programme. The past 12 during the past century. The remnants, though months have focused on embedding, monitoring protected by national and European law, are at and evaluating the approaches in materials in risk from our changing environment. partner institutions across a wide range of programmes and courses. In addition, the project received support from | DEFRA’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR The reach of TESSA is being extended to new an integral part of the wider Floodplain Meadows countries such as Namibia and Togo, using Project which aims to encourage the restoration partner institutions as catalysts and collaborators of floodplain meadows adjacent to existing sites for change. An estimated 400,000 teachers and bring existing sites into favourable condition. and student teachers were using TESSA during 2009 and numbers are expected to Support for 40th celebrations and student grow in 2010. and alumni communications | | Our 40th Anniversary has, as well as highlighting Also with the support of The Allan and Nesta the dedication of our philanthropic supporters, Ferguson Charitable Trust, The Open University brought us closer to other friends and supporters has been able to begin work on the HEAT who have volunteered their time and expertise. (Health Education and Training) programme in Sub-Saharan Africa. The programme aims to For example, many of our Honorary Graduates address the critical shortage of skilled community have taken this opportunity to be involved in the healthcare workers by creating an online bank of launch of the Platform website by being learning materials that are free to access, use, interviewed – Lesley Garrett, John Pilger, Tim adapt and share with others. Smit, Tony Robinson and Ian Rankin, to name Image: Giacomo Pirozzi / Panos Pictures but a few. Others have offered their time to During the first 12 months of development the speak at our lecture series – Jung Chang, aim was to identify and engage with programme Richard Dawkins, Kate Adie, Trevor Phillips, partners through a series of workshops, begin Trevor Baylis, Benjamin Zephaniah, Deborah The Open University is very grateful to those more than £450,000, which, thanks to the the authoring of learning materials, and secure Bull, Prue Leith and Philip Pullman. alumni, friends, trusts, foundations and Government’s Matched Funding scheme, will additional financial support towards the corporations who have made donations to the increase donations to more than £610,000. continuation of the work. The OU would like to thank everyone who institution in the 2008/09 academic year. has supported the 40th celebrations and to Every year we learn about the thoughtful Support for research into the conservation encourage others to join them in taking part in Charitable giving has become extremely individuals who tell us that they have of floodplain meadows future activities. important to the University in a climate of reduced remembered The Open University in their Will. During 2008/09 The Open University received a funding from traditional sources. As the OU’s We would like to thank those who have decided further donation from the Esmée Fairbairn ambitions increase and the University does to remember the OU in this way and show our Foundation towards the OU’s Floodplain Meadows even more to make education available to gratitude to those who have done so in the past. Partnership. The aims of this project are to anyone, anywhere, so the need to seek support promote the conservation of floodplain meadows ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 from others becomes more and more vital. The generosity of donors has a tremendous through improved monitoring of their condition, impact on the range and scope of the projects analysis of data relating to their ecology, hydrology The Open University is very grateful for the the OU has been able to undertake and on the and management and dissemination of findings support of nearly 7,000 alumni and friends who number of students who will benefit from them. to and between all relevant stakeholders. have generously donated to The Supporters’ Fund in the 2008/09 year. In total, this has raised 30 31


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    Financial highlights 2008/09 Results for the year Year Ended Year Ended The Group’s results are summarised in the Financial Highlights on page 32. 31 July 2009 31 July 2008 £m £m Total income increased by £20.1 million or 5% to £421.0 million. Results, cash flows, assets and reserves Funding body grants increased by £8.1 million or 4% to £233.7 million. The recurrent grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) was £182.0 million and represents Funding body grants 233.7 225.6 86% of all recurrent grants from the various funding bodies. It increased by £3.5 million or 2% from Tuition fees and education contracts 141.6 128.8 the total of £178.5 million in 2007/08 as a result of grant inflation and additional student numbers. Research grants and contracts 15.4 14.4 The increase in recurrent grants from other funding councils exceeded inflation. Specific grants Other income 24.3 21.5 increased by £2.5 million or 18% to £16.7 million as a result of a number of initiatives across the | Endowment and investment income 6.0 10.6 three national funding councils. | REVI EW O F T HE YEAR REVI EW O F T HE YEAR Total Income 421.0 400.9 Fee income increased by £12.8 million or 10% to £141.6 million. The bulk of the increase was in respect of fees paid by students, or on their behalf by their employers, in the United Kingdom, Total Expenditure 411.4 388.4 which increased by £10.2 million to £120.7 million. The overall increase results from a combination of general fee inflation and an increase of 11% in student numbers to 252,000, which translated into Surplus for the year before taxation 9.6 12.5 an increase of 3% in full-time equivalent student numbers to 78,000. | | Less: Taxation 0.0 0.1 Income from research grants and contracts increased by £1.0 million or 7% to £15.4 million, due entirely to increased income from Research Councils. Other income increased by £2.8 million or Exceptional item 0.2 4.9 13% to £24.3 million. Endowment and investment income decreased by £4.6 million or 43% to £6.0 million as a result of lower deposits, following the repayment of the previous £60m loan, and Surplus for the year retained within general reserves 9.8 17.3 lower interest rates. Net cash flow from operating activities 12.9 13.7 Expenditure increased by £23.0 million or 6% to £411.4 million. Net returns on investments and servicing of finance 9.3 6.6 Total staff costs increased by £21.4 million or 9% to £262.8 million. £15.4 million of this increase Net cash flow before Investing activities and tax 22.2 20.3 resulted from the nationally negotiated pay awards and £1.5 million from the progression of staff up incremental pay scales, staff promotions and merit increases. The balance of £4.5 million Fixed assets 178.8 175.0 arose from an increase and change in mix in full-time and part-time staff. Endowment assets 0.5 0.6 Net current assets 42.6 28.4 Other (non-pay) operating expenses, excluding depreciation and interest, increased by £1.9 million or 1% to £134.0 million. The University spent £3.6 million providing financial assistance Total assets less current liabilities 221.9 204.0 to students in addition to the £11.0 million of funding councils’ access funds and bursaries disbursed to eligible students. Total reserves 140.0 130.2 The net result was a surplus before exceptional items for the year of £9.6 million compared to £12.4 million last year. In addition an exceptional item of £0.2m (year ended 31 July 2008, £4.9 million) relating to the transfer with effect from 31 May 2008 of the net assets of the Open University Foundation to the University increased the surplus after the exceptional item to Other key statistics Number Number £9.8 million (year ended 31 July 2008, £17.3 million). Number of full-time students 78,110 76,135 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 Total number of students 251,639 226,071 Percentage of students satisfied with the quality of their course 94% 94% (taken from the respondents to the 2009 National Student Survey) 32 33


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    40th Anniversary Milestones | Harold Wilson’s brainchild became reality, thanks to the determination of Minister for Arts Jennie Lee, with The Open University being granted its Royal Charter on April 23 1969. In October that year the first OU staff moved to the Walton Hall Campus in Milton Keynes under the leadership of 1969-1979 first Vice-Chancellor Walter Perry. The closing date for the first courses on offer in August 1970 saw 42,821 applications for 25,000 In the 1960s Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s places. The first OU course was broadcast by the vision of a ‘university of the air’ was met with BBC on January 3 1971, at 10am. In June 1973 some vehement opposition and was famously the OU’s first graduation ceremony, at Alexandra Palace, was broadcast live on BBC Two. The dismissed as ‘blithering nonsense’. Queen visited the OU’s Walton Hall campus in 1979 by which time the student body had Today that scepticism has proved to have been mushroomed to 70,000. ill-founded as the OU has become an international | trailblazer in online distance learning. | In January 1981 Prince Charles officially opened the OU/BBC Production Centre at In its 40th year the University has celebrated Milton Keynes, while the same year the OU with a number of events including an open day, launched the Cyclops “interactive blackboard”. | | attended by 4,000 visitors and a reception at 40T H ANNI VERSARY In 1983 Willy Russell’s play Educating Rita 1979-1989 40T H ANNI VERSARY Number 10 Downing Street, hosted by the Prime was turned into a hit film starring Julie Minister Gordon Brown, a former OU tutor. Walters and Michael Caine – and the OU’s Business School was launched. The OU won BBC TV’s University Challenge in The Shetland Islands, where there is a high 1984 – it won again in 1999. concentration of OU students, had its first degree ceremony, and there has been a series By the end of the 1980s the OU had | expanded into Europe and worldwide and, of celebratory lectures across the UK presented | harnessing the new technology of the day, by honorary graduates. the University sent out 321,840 floppy disks to students in 1989. The BBC also produced a documentary, | | entitled Happy Birthday to OU, presented By 1990, more than one million people had by graduate Lenny Henry, which explored studied with the OU and at least 100,000 the roots of the institution. had gained degrees. At the end of the decade, that number had doubled to more than 200,000. 1989-1999 The 1990s saw the arrival of the named degree, with new areas of study including law and modern languages. The Business “turned School awarded its first MBAs and the The Open University has University launched its Validation Services which enabled other institutions to validate OU degrees. It also saw the arrival of the an educational Knowledge Media Institute (KMi), founded to create and study future technologies system devised in another for the benefit of staff, students and industrial sponsors. | age into a tool of the | By the new millennium, more than 50 per cent of students were studying online. knowledge society, and Computer-based learning and teaching material had expanded with more than 140 used open and distance courses having a computing element. 1999-2009 The profile of the OU’s European Space education to make the missions was given a boost with the Beagle 2 Mission to Mars in 2003 and the world a better place successful landing of the Cassini-Huygens ” ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 ANNUAL REPORT // 2008/09 probe on Titan a year later. The decade saw the launch of OpenLearn, Professor Brenda Gourley while iTunes U expanded the University’s Vice-Chancellor of The Open University 2002-2009 open resource of OU materials. The OU also launched its own channel on the online video community site YouTube. | 34 35


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    The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes MK7 6AA United Kingdom www.open.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0) 1908 274066 Fax: +44 (0) 1908 653744 For enquiries on how to support The Open University in London The Open University in the East of England The Open University: 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town Cintra House, 12 Hills Road The Open University Development Office London NW1 8NP Cambridge CB2 1PF Michael Young Building Tel: +44 (0)20 7485 6597 Tel: +44 (0)1223 364721 Fax: +44 (0)20 7556 6196 Fax: +44 (0)1223 355207 Walton Hall Email: london@open.ac.uk Email: east-of-england@open.ac.uk Milton Keynes MK7 6AA The Open University in the South The Open University in Yorkshire Tel: +44 (0)1908 653786 Foxcombe Hall, Boars Hill 2 Trevelyan Square, Boar Lane Fax: +44 (0)1908 638145 Oxford OX1 5HR Leeds LS1 6ED Email: fundraising@open.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0)1865 327000 Tel: +44 (0)113 244 4431 www.open.ac.uk/fundraising Fax: +44 (0)1865 736288 Fax: +44 (0)113 234 1862 Email: south@open.ac.uk Email: yorkshire@open.ac.uk For student enquiries in the UK: Student Registration and Enquiry Service The Open University in the South East The Open University in the North West Tel: +44 (0)845 300 6090 St James’s House, 150 London Road 351 Altrincham Road, Sharston East Grinstead RH19 1HG Manchester M22 4UN Lines are open (UK time) Tel: +44 (0)1342 327821 Tel: +44 (0)161 998 7272 08.00 to 20.00 Monday to Friday Fax: +44 (0)1342 317411 Fax: +44 (0)161 945 3356 09.00 to 17.00 Saturday Email: south-east@open.ac.uk Email: north-west@open.ac.uk Email: general-enquiries@open.ac.uk www.open.ac.uk/nextstep The Open University in the South West The Open University in the North 4 Portwall Lane Abbots Hill, Baltic Business Quarter For student enquiries in the Bristol BS1 6ND Gateshead NE8 3DF Republic of Ireland: Tel: +44 (0)117 929 9641 Tel: +44 (0)191 477 6100 Enquiry and Advice Centre in Dublin Fax: +44 (0)117 988 8067 Fax: +44 (0)191 202 6968 Tel: +44 (01) 678 5399 or Email: south-west@open.ac.uk Email: north@open.ac.uk The Open University in Ireland The Open University in the West Midlands The Open University in Wales Tel: +44 (0)28 9032 3722 66 High Street, Harborne 18 Custom House Street Email: ireland@open.ac.uk Birmingham B17 9NB Cardiff CF10 1AP www.open.ac.uk/nextstep Tel: +44 (0)121 426 1661 Tel: +44 (0)29 2047 1019 Fax: +44 (0)121 427 9484 Fax: +44 (0)29 2038 8132 For student enquiries in other Email: west-midlands@open.ac.uk Email: wales@open.ac.uk EU countries and Switzerland: Tel: +44 (0)191 2131380 The Open University in the East Midlands The Open University in Scotland Email: europe@open.ac.uk Clarendon Park, Clumber Avenue 10 Drumsheugh Gardens www.open.ac.uk/nextstep Sherwood Rise Edinburgh EH3 7QJ Nottingham NG5 1AH Tel: +44 (0)131 226 3851 Tel: +44 (0)115 962 5451 Fax: +44 (0)131 220 6730 Fax: +44 (0)115 971 5575 Email: scotland@open.ac.uk Email: east-midlands@open.ac.uk The Open University in Ireland 40 University Road Belfast BT7 1SU Tel: +44 (0)2890 245025 Fax: +44 (0)2890 230565 Email: ireland@open.ac.uk Produced by the Vice-Chancellor’s Office and Communications Unit of The Open University, December 2009 Copyright The Open University 2009 The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (number RC 000391), an exempt charity in England and Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (number SC 038302) SUP 015725


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