UWS partners with The Open University UK


The University of Western Sydney has announced it will partner with leading higher education provider, The Open University UK, to develop the University’s first fully-online and distance courses – giving students from Greater Western Sydney and anywhere else in Australia a greater array of higher education opportunities, and the flexibility to juggle work, family responsibilities, travel and study.

In an agreement that is unique in the Australian higher education sector, Open University UK will license to UWS a suite of high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate online and distance courses. UWS will provide all the necessary learning support and technology assistance for students.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janice Reid and incoming UWS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Glover say the partnership is just another way in which UWS is delivering on its promise to open up access to higher education to more people from the Greater Western Sydney region and beyond.

Expected to launch by mid-2014, Professors Reid and Glover say that these new online courses will connect students from across the GWS region and from around Australia to UWS, now one of the largest universities in the country, with more than 40,000 students.

“This exciting new partnership with The Open University UK is part of the University’s broader strategy to develop an innovative and distinctive academic program that will provide both physical and virtual study sites for our rapidly increasing, yet geographically-dispersed, student population,” says Professor Reid.

“We are very pleased to become Open University’s education partner. OU is one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions, ranked first in student satisfaction for all UK universities in 2012.”

“For many aspiring students, particularly those coming to university later in life and looking to expand their professional qualifications, the traditional on-campus classroom experience is not realistic, nor is it practical.”

“With all the competing demands of work, family, geographic location and access to transport we need to continue to look for new ways to provide programs in a mode that works for the full spectrum of today’s students.”

Professor Reid says that this new partnership is not intended to replace the on-campus experience. Rather, it will add another dimension to the University when it comes to program offerings and more flexible modes of delivery.

The collaboration with an education provider of the high standard and outstanding reputation of OU will allow UWS to produce high-quality and cost-effective contemporary courses and curriculum content.

Professor Glover says developing a fully online curriculum is an important and fundamental strategic direction for the University of Western Sydney.

“This partnership is an exciting new direction for UWS. I am looking forward to helping to bring this vision to fruition,” says Professor Glover.

Professor Reid says the OU partnership is just one part of a series of innovative, flexible learning programs that UWS has implemented over the last few years to increase access to higher education.

Fast facts about The Open University UK

  • OU was established in 1969, and by 2012 has had 1.8 million graduates.
  • It is the largest academic institution in the UK, with 246,000 students in 2012
  • OU teaches 36 per cent of all part-time students in the UK.
  • 71 per cent of OU students have no previous higher education qualifications.
  • 56 per cent of all students are aged between 34-44; the median age of new undergraduate students is 30.
  • The OU was the first British university to join the iTunes University - iTunes U - and is now seeing more than 250,000 downloads of its material each week.
  • Since 2005, OU has consistently been voted by its students into the top five universities for student satisfaction, topping the chart several times. In 2013 the OU achieved a satisfaction rating of 92 per cent.
  • It ranks in the top third of UK universities in research outcomes.
  • In the UK’s 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 87 per cent of OU’s research was deemed ‘internationally recognised’ or better.

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