Monday 1 June 2009

Farewell to T305: Digital Communications

We had little lunchtime gathering today, to say farewell to the Open University (OU) course, T305: Digital Communications. (Today was what was probably the final meeting of the course exam board.)

In some ways the course was a 'run of the mill' OU offering. There are many more innovative OU courses, and there are courses that have had lots more students, but look at these (approximate) statistics for the course:

Ten presentations (1999 – 2008) and something like:

• 10,000 students
• 280 TMA (tutor-marked assignment) questions
• 900 CMA (computer-marked assignment) questions
• A quarter of a million TMA answers… each marked by a tutor
• Not far off a million CMA answers
• Millions of viewers for our TV programmes
• Lots and lots of FirstClass electronic conference messages - which means lots of students helping students, lots of tutors helping students, and lots of students telling staff what they think of the course
• Total income to the university measured in £ millions

and that’s not counting the Singapore or the Arab OU presentations.

………………………………… then there’s still the long tail on OpenLearn….

and if you search the web you’ll find all sorts of bits of the course scattered around the world.
I quote these statistics simply to draw attention to the scale of the OU. Maybe if someone from, say, China, India or the USA is reading this they'd be less impressed, but within the context of the UK and Europe generally, these are big numbers, are they not?

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