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Open University in Scotland

The focus during the three year life span of the current Enhancement Theme of Student Transitions is to explore the nature of transitions into, through and out of higher education. As the only higher education institution in Scotland dedicated to supported open learning, and the largest UK provider of distance education to a primarily part-time mature student body, the Open University are acutely aware that the learning journeys students undertake are diverse, with multiple entry and exit points to and from higher education.

It is this awareness of the diversity of student journeys that has shaped the nature of their engagement with the Enhancement Theme and our exploration of how we understand and support student transitions in, through, and out of higher education. Their overarching aim during three years of the Theme is to enhance their understanding of key transition points in the OU learner journey and the support students require to navigate these junctures focusing on diverse learner journeys in, through and out of higher education specifically considering part-time, mature, distance learning students.

The institutional lead is Alison Gilmour



Year 2

  • Theme work planning for 2015-16, refresh of OU Institutional Team and announcement of calendar of meetings.
  • Development of Supporting pathways from informal to formal learning work stream.
  • Engaging broader groups of staff with Theme at Associate Lecturer Staff Development Conference.
  • Scoping of Theme work related to New Learning in Familiar Environments.
  • Exploration of collaborative activity with other HEIs.
  • Refresh of aims, thematic areas of activity and budget spend.
  • Preparation of discussion paper related to conceptual mapping work.
  • Production of five examples of transitions practice and preparation of vignettes.
  • Development of Supporting Student Transitions using Open Educational Resources work stream
  • Development of collaborative project: Supporting students to become independent online learners at a distance.
  • Development of a range of institutional activities and projects connected to the Theme of: Networked learning to support student transitions.
  • Reflections and updates on progress.
  • Writing conference paper/contribution.
  • Writing-up end of year reporting and planning ahead to 2016-17.

Institutional topics considered

  • Widening access
  • Change processes
  • Colleges and articulation
  • Student resilience
  • Technology and online support

Download institutional plans