The Open University is proposing a drastic remodel of its operations

The remodel comes about with the intention of it improving the future service it will provide to its students.

Mr Horrocks, Vice-Chancellor, states “we want to transform the University of the Air envisaged by Harold Wilson in the 1960s to a University of the Cloud, a world-leading institution which is digital by design and has a unique ability to teach and support our students in a way that is responsive both to their needs and those of the economy.”

This proposal is advantageous for students because it shows the University is keeping up with and adapting to changes in society. It is also preparing for the future and actively taking steps against threats before they become apparent. This should all ultimately provide students with the best possible education and positively impact their ability to gain employment and further their careers.

But all good things come at an expense. The University is expected to achieve savings of £100 million from its annual budget of around £420 million. Staff make up two-thirds of the university’s operating costs therefore it is predicted that this cut in expenses will be heavily digested by the staff. This news will be unsettling for many students who already feel there is currently a lack of tutor support.

The proposal is understandable as the Open University is under pressure to stand out from other universities. The time has passed whereby the Open University was perceived as the ‘great exception’ since many other universities and other study organisations now also offer distance learning. We can only hope that the Open University does not get too distracted by the desire to stand out from the crowd and maintains its human touch because in the end no fancy technology will be more effective than good human connections.

Written by:
Catherine Howell – OULS  Reporter

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