The UK Open University COVID Response: A Sector Case Study

Weller, Martin (2022). The UK Open University COVID Response: A Sector Case Study. OTESSA Journal, 2(1) pp. 1–13.



During the coronavirus pandemic, nearly all forms of education underwent an online pivot, to some form of internet-based instruction. The UK Open University (UKOU), like many other distance education and online universities, found its expertise in designing and delivering effective online teaching in demand. This paper reports how the UKOU responded to this demand through a range of mechanisms in three main areas: curriculum, research, and outreach. The different responses in these areas are categorised to highlight six main requirements from the sector: Support, Understanding, Knowledge Sharing, Replacement, Resources and Capacity Building. Using these as a model, the discussion argues that they represent responses that could be undertaken at global, national, and regional levels to develop a more resilient and robust higher education sector that would be better equipped to cope with future disruptions.

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