The 1st October 2009 saw the launch of a new partnership between The Open University in Scotland (OU) and Dumfries and Galloway College. The Open University is Scotland’s leading provider of part-time university education with over 15,000 students and over 400 in Dumfries and Galloway. More than one in four OU students in Scotland has studied at college before joining the OU, giving the Open University one of the most successful track records in increasing progression from college to university study. Past college learners are also among the most successful OU students in terms of retention and achievement.
The partnership agreement has two distinct strands. Firstly, the college has become the first Scottish College to offer an official Open University ‘Learning space’. The facility will give Open University students and staff across Dumfries and Galloway access to a range of support and study facilities within the college at both the Dumfries and Stranraer campuses. This will include library services, IT facilities and support, social spaces where OU students can get together and information about OU study opportunities.
Secondly the college’s suite of higher education qualifications are linked to the Open University’s extensive range of modules and qualifications to create progression routes between the two learning providers. This means that local people will be able to benefit from multi-optional learning programmes that offer them a range of ways to develop their skills at the different stages in their lives.
Anyone studying HNC, HND or a range of other courses at the college will be able to count credit from their studies towards an Open University degree. This will help them to build on the knowledge and skills they’ve already gained, and in many cases to reduce the length of time it takes to get a degree. The OU/College agreement gives current and former college students access to the OU’s entire range of nearly 600 modules. From this they have the option of working towards a degree in a specific subject area, or of tailoring a degree profile to suit their individual interests.
Central to the agreement is the BA or BSc Open degree which provides a particularly flexible route from HN qualifications to an honours degree. For example, students with a HND qualification can claim up to 240 credits towards the 360 credit BA or BSc (Open) with Honours. Honours degrees in named subjects are also available and further information on credit transfer is available on request.
Three quarters of OU students are in employment and the OU system of supported open learning is designed with their needs in mind. OU students on low incomes or on benefits can study for free or receive support from Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) to help with the cost of study.
Find out more information about OU study at www.open.ac.uk/courses/college-routes.