Posted by: MandyS | December 9, 2011

Activity 27.2 – Student life

In an attempt to get myself back into the swing of things, thought I would have a go at this activity.

  • What action has been taken to make sure that disabled students are able to take part in the same non-teaching activities as other students?

In the context of the Law Programme, students can take part in non-teaching activities with other students via the various online forums. The law programme has its own Student Cafe, which was initiated this year but students can also access the various online forums via the OU portal OU Life. These are a couple of links to what is available via Studenthome:

Such interaction of course is asynchronous but I know that some students who find they are in the same locality do arrange to meet up socially. I would imagine that those students in and around Milton Keynes (OU headquarters) may have facilities on campus which they can avail themselves of.

Students also have automatic access to the OU Student’s Association:

“When you register to study with the Open University (O U), you automatically become a member of the Open University Students Association (O U S A). Whether you are looking for support, have issues you would you like to take up with the University, would like to get involved in student activities or are simply wishing to socialise with fellow students, O U S A is here for you. This site attempts to help you get in touch with fellow students in your area.”

  • What other action could be taken?

I doubt that the OU could actually do any more. Some students that are not keen on asynchronous interaction get together via Skype; I suppose the OU could encourage more use of Elluminate, but essentially, this is a learning tool rather than a social networking tool.

  • In your view, which role in your context carries the responsibility for ensuring that such action is taken?

It would appear that this is OU lead and to that end, I imagine that responsibility lies with the OU management working together with student services.


Seale, J. (2006) E-Learning and Disability in Higher Education: Accessibility Research and Practice, Abingdon, Routledge; also available online at mod/ resourcepage/ view.php?id=569013&direct=1 (accessed 09 December 2011).


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