Chapter 1: The transformation of distance learning at Open University: the need for a new pedagogy for online learning?
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This chapter considers the experience of the Open University UK as it has moved from a distance correspondence model to online provision and how it is looking to the future as a digital provider, in a context of changing government policy and a consequent decline in its core learner base. It explains why the characteristics of being an open, distance and part-time learning provider have critical implications for pedagogy and uses two specific examples of technological interventions to enhance the student experience. The use of learning analytics is a fast-growing area which has prompted some ethical concerns but its use to stage interventions to support at-risk students has shown considerable value for working with both cohorts of, and individual, students. The second example, Student Hive Live, shows how a creative combination of digital technologies can support a sense of engagement and community which is sometimes difficulty to generate in a distance-learning context.