Beyond The Kipper Tie

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Posted on: 11 April 2011 by Alexander Hay

Often underestimated, the Open University may yet conquer the world

Reported with little fanfare and perhaps even less interest from the readers was this little snippet - apparently, the US government is offering the Open University extra funds to help retain students in the American higher education system.

In other words, the borders and geographical distances between them no longer matter. Thanks to online technology, the Open University can assist American students, and is looking into expanding this, making its lectures freely available on iTunes, for example.

The OU may be developing into an international organisation. At a point when other universities in the UK have to physically export themselves by setting up remote campuses in places such as China and the Arabian peninsula, the OU deftly avoids this expenditure simply by doing what it has always done, helped along by the Web.

Of course, correspondent colleges in the US don't have particularly good reputations. The OU therefore has a golden opportunity - a readymade solution for those who need to work (and given the state of the US economy and the sky-high fees at many of its universities, most Americans probably do need to work) complete with a strong, trusted brand.

The Open University may be about to leave its kipper tie image behind and give Americans the accessible university education they deserve.

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Alexander Hay

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