With nearly 15,000 students, The Open University (OU) is Scotland’s leading provider of part-time higher education. Some 40% of Scotland’s students studying part-time at undergraduate level with a higher education institution study with the OU.

The cornerstone of the OU’s mission to be open to all and our open entry system allows us to offer the opportunity for study to people from all backgrounds and sections of the community. For example, more than one third of our undergraduate students had qualifications below standard university entrance level when they joined the OU. We are also Scotland’s main provider for students with disabilities, teaching 10% of all disabled students in higher education.

Our reach is nationwide, and Open University students can be found in virtually every postcode district and community in Scotland. Hundreds of Scotland’s blue chip employers such as Scottish Power, Standard Life and Royal Bank of Scotland sponsor their staff to study with us. Through our courses and qualifications in areas such as health and social care, education, and business and management, the OU is playing a major role in the training and professional development of Scotland’s workforce across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Today e-learning is an integral part of the OU’s course delivery and our student support services; from online discussion groups and conferencing, to electronic assignment handling and dedicated course websites. By being online, even those living in the most isolated areas of the country are able to participate in a truly interactive learning environment.

The OU is an integral part of the Scottish higher education community and actively involved in the development of HE policy alongside all other higher education institutions in Scotland. Since 1 April 2000, the teaching of OU students living in Scotland has been funded by the Scottish Funding Council for Further and Higher Education.

The 130 academic, administrative and secretarial and clerical staff at the OU’s office in Edinburgh offer an extensive range of support and specialist advice services to students in Scotland. The core function of the office is to manage the University’s business in Scotland. This includes managing relationships with government and other external bodies, the research and development of learning and the recruitment and retention of students in Scotland, as well as the employment, support and staff development of the 500 Associate Lecturers who deliver the University’s teaching programmes. The office also provides advice, guidance and learning support to prospective and existing students including a programme of outreach events; administers examinations; organises an annual graduation ceremonies and promotes the University and its courses within Scotland. We have been voted as the top university in Scotland for student satisfaction for nine years.

More information can be obtained from the OU web site at www.open.ac.uk/scotland.