open degree

Open programme art work

At the risk of making this blog a Bryan Mathers fanboi site, I am devoting another post to his work. As I’ve mentioned, I’m the Chair of the Open Degree Programme at the OU. We got Bryan in to help us think through our joint principles. The aim was also to create some artwork we can use in presentations, that are social media friendly and illustrate key benefits about the open degree.

So here they are with some thoughts:

Woman holding a shield with the OU logo, reading The Open Programme, Perfect for Brave Learners

Brave learners – we like to suggest that open learners are brave, in that taking control of your own learning path requires a sense of responsibility. It is easier in some ways to follow a prescribed pathway for a named degree – you know if you do these modules they will give you an understanding of topic X. But choosing your own path means you have to make those decisions for yourself, which is a lot of freedom – and as we know, with great power comes great responsibility.

3 Footsteps with the works interest, career and passion. Text reads The Open Degree: walk your own path

Walk your own path – the freedom aspect is highlighted in this image. But it also emphasises factors which can influence a student’s choices. These are not necessarily the same for everyone, some people will be purely interest driven, others career focused and others will balance a mixture of these elements.

Fist holding aloft a degree certificate. Text reads Rebel Degree

Rebel degree – I like the idea behind this one, that open programme students are rebellious to some degree. It is likely to appeal to people who find the conventional pathways too constraining.

Astronaut on the moon, text reads Since 1969. Open Degree Programme

Space cadet – this one tied in with the OU’s 50th anniversary in 2019 which was also the moon landing 50th anniversary also. It helps us stress that in fact the OU designed its courses to be multidisciplinary, specifically because the architects of this new university felt that it needed a new type of degree structure.

Person at base of tree path, each leaf is a person. Text reads choose the path of greatest interest

Path of greatest interest – this ties back to my idea of situated degree pathways, in that students can change their degree pathway as interest or context suggests, rather than having it pre-determined from the outset. It also emphasises the many, many different pathways possible.

Pick n Mix

Pick n mix – I sometimes refer to the open programme as our pick n mix degree, because a) I LOVE pick n mix and b) it is a useful shorthand for a lot of people. But it is probably worth noting though that some don’t like the metaphor because it implies a lack of connection between the components and perhaps a randomness in choice (they’ve obviously never gone through a pick n mix with me).

Pic of man with dog over his shoulder. Text says Prof Martin Weller, saying If we didn't have an open programme we'd need to invent one

Prof Weller – Bryan added in this one as a freebie, and I’ve adapted it as my Twitter avatar. It also features Teilo, so is obviously the winner here. I wanted to stress that Open is in our title and the open programme is central to our identity. And also that it is a concept that is particularly timely now and so if we didn’t have it, we’d invent it.

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