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Students give thumbs-up to Open University teaching

The Open University (OU) has been ranked in the top 20 of UK universities in the latest National Student Survey. 

The OU rose 19 places to be joint 20th out of 139 participating universities in the annual survey of student satisfaction. It fared even better in the Nations of the UK, ranking first in Northern Ireland (out of five), second in Scotland (out of 19) and joint third in Wales (out of 10).

Students gave the OU an overall satisfaction rating of 87 per cent, up one percentage point on last year. This score places us four percentage points above the average for the sector (83%).

The increase in overall satisfaction for OU is set against a decrease in the sector average for overall satisfaction by one percentage point from 84% in 2017 to 83% in 2018.

Overall satisfaction rates by Nation are:

  • 87% for England (up 1 percentage point from 86%)
  • 90% for Scotland (up 1 percentage point from 89%)
  • 92% for Northern Ireland (up 3 percentage points from 89%)
  • 88% for Wales (up 1 percentage point from 87%)

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Mary Kellett said:

We are working hard across the University to improve the student experience. The results are beginning to show. I am very proud that this work is starting to make a material difference to our students. It’s important that we continue to build on this progress, and I am committed to working more closely with our students to act on what they have told us.

The OU has seen satisfaction increase in 22 of the 27 questions in the survey. The results remain the same in the other five questions. As in previous years, the OU has performed very well in the assessment and feedback category. For this category, it ranked first amongst participating universities in 2018 at 86%, an improvement on the second place recorded in 2017.

Organisation and management saw largest increases

Behind the headlines, the OU achieved its largest increases (each by 4 percentage points) in the three questions in the organisation and management category.

  • The course is well organised and running smoothly (77% in 2017 to 81% in 2018)
  • The timetable works efficiently for me (75% in 2017 to 79% in 2018)
  • Any changes in the course or teaching have been communicated effectively (77% in 2017 to 81% in 2018)

The highest satisfaction ratings were achieved on the following questions: The course is intellectually stimulating (91%); I have received helpful comments on my work (90%); Feedback on my work has been timely (88%); I have been able to contact staff when I needed to (88%).

About Author

Christine works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is an experienced BBC journalist, sub-editor and news editor and has a background in regional newspapers. After moving to PR she worked as a press officer for the Zoological Society of London. She has a BSc in Social Sciences with Politics from The Open University and focuses on stories from the Faculty of Social Science and widening access in HE. Chris swims regularly and has a pet Tortoise called Lightning.

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