The delegation of The Open University is visiting Kazan Federal University these days, 26-28 August, within the implementation of the pilot project 'KFU Open E-learning System' (See details of The Open University's first visit here).
The visit of Sharon Ding, Academic Partnership Director of the Open University, Rebecca Barnett, Partnership Manager, and Ian Dyer, Director of New Era Technical Consulting Ltd., is aimed to discuss methods and peculiarities of e-learning in KFU, use of distance learning techniques, partnership models, and perspective cooperation, and to sign a related memorandum of intent between KFU and The Open University.
At the meeting the guests saw a presentation of the Kazan Federal University describing its history, outstanding graduates and researches, current structure of the university and its activities. Sharon Ding, in her turn, spoke on The Open University, its mission, strategy, teaching and learning techniques.
The visit is organized within the pilot project 'KFU Open E-learning System' aimed to implement open education system. The project involves all KFU institutes and divisions; however, the Institutes of Fundamental Medicine and Biology and Physics have been selected for the first stage of its implementation.
The Open University is a British university that is open to people without formal academic qualifications and where teaching is by correspondence or broadcasting or summer school university - a large and diverse institution of higher learning created to educate for life and for a profession and to grant degrees
The Open University is the UK’s largest university and arguably its most distinctive. It has over 200 000 students who study by what the University describes as “supported open learning”. Perhaps more commonly described as distance education, the University’s teaching methods enable students all over the UK (and elsewhere in the world) to study for degrees in a wide range of fields.
Courses are presented through specially designed printed materials, audio and video cassettes, software, and face to face tutorial support in study centres. Tutoring via the Internet is also being introduced on some courses. As well as its distinctiveness in terms of teaching methods, the Open University is distinctive in its admissions policies. Previous educational qualifications are not required for undergraduate courses. Its students are mature. They study part-time; many of them are in full-time employment. The University’s courses are multi-disciplinary with only limited opportunities for the strong subject specialization characteristic of traditional degree courses in the UK.
The University was created at the end of the sixties and, unlike other higher education institutions, received its state funding directly from the ministry. It thus sat administratively outside the old binary division, its distinctive character as an institution complemented by separate arrangements for its funding and accountability. In 1992, as part of the wider changes being made in higher education, the Open University was for the first time brought within the mainstream system. Its funding source shifted from the ministry to the new Higher Education Funding Council and it became subject to the same arrangements for external quality assurance as were being introduced for other universities.