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QAA Higher Education Review – Action Plan

Updated April 2023

Abbreviations used

  • CFO - Chief Financial Officer portfolio
  • CIO - Chief Information Officer portfolio
  • CP - Curriculum Partnerships
  • CPMG - Curriculum Partnerships Management Group
  • DSA - Data and Students Analytics team
  • GS - Graduate School
  • IET - Institute of Educational Technology
  • OUVP - Open University Validation Partnerships
  • PGR - Postgraduate Research
  • SA - Students Association
  • StELA - Student Experience and Learning Adjustments
  • VCE - Vice-Chancellor’s Executive
  • VCE-A - Vice-Chancellor’s Executive - Academic
  • VLE - Virtual Learning Environment

Vice-Chancellor’s Executive with overall responsibility

  • PVC(S) - Pro-Vice- Chancellor (Students)
  • PVC (RES) - Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)
  • Uni Sec - University Secretary
  • CFO- Chief Financial Officer
  • CIO - Chief Information Officer


  Commendations; Recommendations; Affirmations Action agreed Progress Date for Completion Action lead VCE Success Indicators










The flexible and effective provision of Access modules that prepare a diverse range of students for higher education study methods. (paragraph 57)

Actions taken since the QER:

1.1 A third presentation of all three Access modules was introduced in 2021 with the intention of providing greater flexibility for students. The Access team will monitor registration and performance data at monthly meetings

1.1 The additional third presentation of modules is now in Business as Usual (BAU). Two modules are available in both ‘fast track’ and standard versions. The Access team will undertake work in the longer term through the standard monitoring and review processes to analyse the differing performance of Access students across the different presentation starts and speeds in order to identify the most appropriate patterns of study

Completed May 2022 - now in BAU

Chair of Access and Open Teaching Committee


Increase registration and completion rates for Access students, progression rates to OU level 1 and enhanced outcomes at level 1 and beyond compared with those who did not study an Access module



1.2. Guidance systems were established in 2021 to ensure only the most motivated students fully understand the time commitment involved before embarking on the 18-week preparatory module (as opposed to the standard 30-week version)


Completed 2021






1.3. Scholarship was undertaken to inform the roll-out of a fast-track version of a Science, Technology and Maths Access module (Y033) in May 2022. 

1.3.  Early data from the first award board for the STM fast-track module suggested (although the numbers were relatively small compared to the conventional 30- week version) that students were more likely to be retained, more likely to achieve a good pass and more likely to register early to progress to their first undergraduate module. Tutors reported a highly motivated and engaged cohort – the demographic characteristics (fee waiver, disability, age) were very similar to standard Access students.  Interviews with tutors and a student survey were undertaken. Interviews with 10 volunteer students also took place in May 2022. Findings were reported to the University via a report on Scholarship Hub and to the sector via workshops at UALL (Universities Association for Lifelong Learning) and the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) conference. Further enhancements will be identified as part of the annual ongoing review of modules 

Completed July 2022






1.4. Other recommendations arising from the Access PQR will also be taken forward in 2022. The self-evaluation document has been written and the panel will meet in June 2022. An action Plan will follow 

1.4. The Access Periodic Quality Review was conducted successfully with a very positive report from the panel. The Access PQR action plan contains a number of actions for the university and the AQS team are monitoring progress through BAU

Completed September 2022






1.5. Review of the registration processes for the Access programme with the aim of smoothing the applicant journey 

1.5. An evaluation of the impact of the Access fee waiver was undertaken and the requirement to name an intended undergraduate degree has been removed and the household income ceiling of £25K has been amended to individual income (as in Scotland)

Completed March 2022





The effective approach to the engagement and support of staff in delivering the mission of the University, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the provision of online seminars and training. (paragraph 58)

2.1. Provide regular training and development opportunities to all teaching staff on the effective design and delivery of online tuition activities that use a range of pedagogic models and approaches to ensure alignment with diverse student and discipline needs

2.1. AL Support and Professional Development (ALSPD) continues to provide an annual programme of professional development to all ALs at an institutional level with additional bespoke sessions cocreated with faculty for specific disciplinary areas. The programme provides a range of self-paced learning resources, AL facilitated sessions and additional support to focus on specific areas of using online tools to deliver effective tuition. All training, development and resources are based on emerging learning needs and evaluated

Centralised professional development resources continue to evolve to meet demand and changing needs. This Infographic 2022 FINAL.pdf provides an overview of the centralised training, development and resources provided online to Associate Lecturers in 21-22

The annual programme increased in capacity to support tutors switching to a wholly online delivery and also to support the increase in new tutors due to additional student numbers. In addition, ALSPD expanded the programme with development and resources specifically aimed at Practice Tutors as part of the Apprenticeship programme. A survey (Dec 2022) conducted by the Learning Systems team (LXT, CIO Portfolio) to find out more about student participation and preferred ways of engaging in a tutorial indicates that the training and development offer aimed at developing tutoring online skills is making a positive difference to the student experience. The full survey report is available here Student participation online tutorial report, through  the Online rooms guidance & support website

Review annually through standard processes

Associate Deans Faculties/ Assistant Director AL Support and Professional Development (ALSPD)

Uni Sec and PVC (Res) – for IET staff training


2.1(a) increase in satisfaction levels from students and staff regarding the delivery and learning experience of online tuition activities

2.1(b) increase in staff engagement with training (with increasing levels of engagement with higher skill-based sessions)



2.2. Retain/maintain and further develop one-to-many pastoral support platforms developed in response to the pandemic (e.g. Student Support Teams (SST), pastoral support forums) and integrate into current (or standard) student support team operational models, to provide students access to a range of support models that best meets their needs and promotes peer engagement and shared experiences

Actions 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 will be formally reviewed in May/June 2022 at the sub-unit level (Student Support Services, SSS) and evaluated against the original success indicators and relevant key performance measures. The purpose of this review will be to determine the influence the group support methods have had on student engagement and satisfaction with teams and services from across SSS. The outcomes report will be used to clarify the methods of group support that will continue to be offered as part of support services to students, identify areas and approaches for further development and/or enhancement in the 22/23 academic year, and confirm the KPMs and success indicators to be used to measure ongoing progress

The following actions were identified:

2.2(a) SST Forums have been integrated in to BAU and are advertised via the bulletin board, email, and on the ‘Contact us’ page on StudentHome. This has led to the continued use of forums, by students, for student support issues. The number of posts is low (averaging 10 posts per week) but the number of readers is much higher. For example, the ‘Student mental health and wellbeing’ post from 24 April 2022 has had just under 1000 readers across all SST forums

2.2(b) There is no systematic satisfaction rating for the SST forums. However, reviewing posts over the past academic year shows that students are happy with the service they receive both in terms of information provided and timeliness of response

Quality monitoring is carried out for moderators in the forums and consistent training materials have been produced for new moderators

2.2(c) Two forums have been set up to support disabled veterans:

  1. Disabled Veterans as a community
  2. Students who are part of the Disabled Veteran’s Scholarship Fund (DVSF).

The forums are mirroring the usage and reader rates of the SST forums. Usage would increase if a link to the SST forums was added to the forum tab for each module VLE site

Mar-23 update: the SST support forums continue to be used as part of the standard support channels available to all students, however the number of posts has dropped significantly (to a few posts per month in each discipline). Usage will therefore be monitored to the end of the 22/23 academic year and a decision taken on whether to close these sites (due to low usage) or to actively promote the sites and evaluate whether this results in renewed reengagement and use

Completed June 2022

Director, Student Support Services


2.2(a) continued use of SST pastoral support forums by students at similar or higher levels (demonstrating integration to standard support model)

2.2(b) maintenance or increase in student satisfaction with the quality and effectiveness of support delivered via SST pastoral support forums

2.2(c) introduction of at least one additional one-to-many support platform within Student Support in line with emerging student support needs



2.3. Integrate and expand the provision of one-to-many pastoral support events (e.g. self-confidence, motivational and study skills webinars, workshops) that have been designed for all and/or specific cohorts of students (e.g. younger students, full-time intensity study, students with disabilities) across all areas of Student Support

2.3(a) The FASS SST have repeated, in 21/22, one-to-many sessions for students registered on 120 credits (aimed specifically at level 1 students). This year saw attendance drop to 18 students (from 75 the previous year) suggesting that such events are seeing a decline in interest post-pandemic. The suggestion going forward is to increase SST engagement with StudentHub Live (as opposed to putting on separate events). See 2.3 (b) for more info.

Mar-23 update: the wider service continues to seek and identify opportunities to make best us of one-to-many support events in line with changing student needs and expectations. These events are predominantly being developed in collaboration with Student Hub Live

2.3(b) Rather than creating new forums/spaces for the provision of one to many support, the SSTs have aligned with StudentHub Live to provide support for specific study skills sessions (e.g. FBL SST and Faculty staff hosting a StudentHub Live event on student wellbeing). Further alignment between StudentHub Live and SSTs will be done for 22/23, in terms of delivering a programme of ‘one to many’ events throughout the year

Mar-23 update: The SSTs have established a network of Community Event/Student Hub Live (SHL) champions (overseen by a FASS Operations Manager), who actively promote community events across all teams to raise staff awareness (led via FASS Ops Manager) and take a lead on informing and influencing event topics and content (in line with student feedback and queries into the service), as well as helping to design and co-deliver sessions. This champion network and partnership with SHL is working effectively and has been embedded into BAU

Completed June 2022






Completed March 2023







Director, Student Support Services


2.3(a) maintenance or increase in student engagement and satisfaction with one-to-many pastoral events




2.3(b) one-to-many pastoral support offered to students by all faculty-level SSTs (incl. Open prog)







2.4. Enhance connectivity between different support sessions and resources (e.g. Study sites, pastoral support webinars, Student Support Team forums, Student Hub Live events, Library training and support, HelpCentre self-serve support) to improve consistency in support provided and raise awareness of the range of support options available to students

2.4(a) There was some dissatisfaction reported in relation to a lack of a centralised events calendar i.e. events for the different areas are advertised in different locations so it is difficult for students to get a handle on everything that is in place to support them. The solution lies in systems development and so this issue was flagged with the Student Comms Platform (SCP) and Digital Student Experience (DSE) projects to improve signposting  

Mar-23 update: Feedback from a range of stakeholders confirms that community events (including SHL events) are being promoted in a more systematic and timely manner which is enabling better levels of engagement, and improved alignments between common needs and the focus/topic of events being offered (on this basis, the proposal for a calendar of events has been dropped)

As the Student Communications Platform (SCP) and Digital Student Experience (DSE) programmes continue to be developed, launched (from April 2023) and integrated into BAU, this will enable continued improvements in raising timely awareness of events, and gaining improved insight in the levels of click throughs to information about these events (including student behavioural and demographic insight). This new insight will allow further enhancements to be made on a continuous basis to how and when community support events are promoted via SCP, DSE and SST interventions. 

2.4(b) There is information about the various support resources in Knowledge Management System, but this is quite siloed e.g. separate pages for Library Services, Study Sites, Support webinars etc. Production of a single page to promote ‘one to many’ support services including Library Services, Careers and Employability Services, StudentHub Live and SST Forums was explored in 2022.

Mar-23 update: this action has been marked as closed, as following further consideration, it was determined that hosting this information on KMS would not be appropriate. (KMS is predominantly used by staff to ensure compliance with service processes). Instead, the SST Community event (SHL) Champion network is working effectively to raise wider staff awareness of events (e.g. via updates in weekly team briefings)

Development within SCP/DSE to be reviewed as part of these projects (ongoing; implementation to commence from Apr-23)






Closed March 2023




Director, Student Support Services


2.4(a) reduction in dissatisfaction expressed by students regarding inconsistency in support sessions and resource






2.4(b) increase in staff awareness of support sessions and resources offered by other units



The strategic, proactive, and effective use of data which enhances learning and teaching, supports access, and underpins the delivery of the university’s mission to enable greater student success.  (paragraph 79)

The University recognises the importance of consistent and reliable data.  In order to continue to benefit from enhanced data usage, the following technical solutions are planned by the Data and Students Analytics (DSA) team to enable the University to better understand the student experience and ensure appropriate  and efficient interventions are developed:


Director, Data Students Analytics (DSA)


Faster implementation of focussed interventions for students to improve student success rates

More effective and efficient processing of data through dashboards



3.1. Agree core data needed and how it should be used. Core student data to be curated in Titan (the new Cloud based data platform introduced in 2020) 

3.1. Work is continuing to ensure full data availability in Titan covering what’s available in SAS infrastructure. Ingestion and curation are ongoing to pursue use cases in the AI roadmap business case. Examples include Adobe web and SCP/Campaigner data




Move to greater consistency of data and a single source of data




3.2. Titan and MicroSoft tools to be adopted by analytical workforce            

3.2. Strategic analytics and BI teams are in the process of adopting Titan through Semantic layer development. Dashboards are being transitioned to platform as well as new dashboards being built and planned in the platform. AI roadmap personalisation use cases are also being developed in Titan

Mid 2024





3.3. Data Management capability implemented and running in standard student support models   

3.3 In 2022, the Machine Learning solutions that will support targeted interventions has grown and there is progression with Marcomms and Academic Services on the implementation of a Student Comms Platform to deliver personalised and targeted communications to improve conversion, onboarding and retention 

End of 2024      



3.4. Business Intelligence redeveloped and rationalised 

3.4 See 3.2

End of 2022/3






3.5. Ensure that data science capability is well established   

3.5 The Data Science and engineering team is expanding on the back of AI roadmap. ‘Use cases’ on Machine Learning to improve conversion and retention are being developed and the team is also progressing with unstructured data and cognitive services to provide MI to Academic Services on the most frequent questions posed by students so they can realise efficiencies by prioritising work on the right queues and to enhance the self-serve facility

End of 2022/23






3.6. ‘Optimisation capability’ implemented   

3.6 Some optimisation capabilities have been embedded including AI interventions KPI manual estimates and Test and control evaluation

End of 2022/23




    3.7. ‘Self- Serve’ facility enabled

3.7 At the moment, self-serve is mainly through dashboards and canned reports and further developments are progressing 

End of 2024      



3.8 DSA are now offering more training and development in the use of data dashboards to support staff to understand and use data more effectively


3.9 Work is ongoing to implement CP4D which is the IBM data management solution to improve data quality 

3.8. A Stakeholder engagement team has been created to help to identify training needs across data solutions. At the same time, DSA are seeking to facilitate consumption of data and insight – e.g. the QME digitisation application is being piloted. This will enable users to interact with data more seamlessly as well as closing the loop on actions

3.9. Implementation of CP4D stopped as product did not meet requirements. Savings have been cashed and we are looking at Microsoft stack to meet our specifications on data management use cases

End 2022/23



End 2022/23



Reductions in PQR and PRG recommendations arising from QME in relation to data/dashboards


The comprehensive and effective support, provided by the University, to its partners, that assures and enhances its collaborative provision. (paragraph 154)

Actions planned by OU Validated Partnerships (OUVP) for validated awards:

4.1. Address the recommendations and affirmations from the recent OUVP Periodic Quality Review (PQR)

4.1 An updated PQR action plan noting progress with activities was taken to Curriculum Partnerships Committee in March 2022 and approved by Academic Quality and Governance Committee in May 2022

Plan completed May 2021

Implementation rolled out by – Dec 2022

Interim Head OUVP


4.1. Plan approved and all associated actions implemented.



4.2. Review the processes adopted for validated awards during the pandemic and establish streamlined/amended processes with University approval and partner support

As part of the review, seek informal and formal feedback from stakeholders (partners and faculties)



4.2. The review was completed and approved by Curriculum Partnerships Committee (CuPC) and accepted by validated partners

(Re) Validation events, Exam boards, Institutional Approval and Review activities are now being managed through a risk-based process, with a hybrid approach of face-to-face meetings, desk-based activity and remote meetings. Some events work particularly well virtually such as Exam Boards whereas more complicated approval and (re)validation events carry greater potential risk without face-to-face interactions or on-site presence. To ensure consistency in approach, arubric has been established for event planning purposes with SMT approving exceptions to the approach

During the Pandemic OUVP staff reflected on the benefits and the risks associated with operating virtually. A virtual event log was maintained with participant feedback of their experience and recommendations for the future model which informed the adoption of the hybrid model from September 2022. As the hybrid model was fully implemented from September 2022 OUVP intends to seek feedback from stakeholders (including partners and faculties) at the end of the 2022/23 Academic Year   

September 2023 

Deputy Head of OUVP


4.2. Review completed and enacted including approval by Curriculum Partnerships Committee (CuPC) and acceptance by validated partners



Action identified for curriculum partnerships management:

4.3. Establish dedicated resource within Faculties to support the management of Curriculum Partnerships (CP)


Action taken by FASS:

  • This action has been implemented and dedicated CP resource is in the FASS External Engagement team. They have responsibility for the management of FASS CPs and work collaboratively with Partnership Managers

Action taken by STEM:

  • this action has been completed. The Associate Dean, Enterprise and External Engagement and the Research Enterprise and Scholarship team (STEM-RES Team) work with the Associate Dean Curriculum and the Curriculum Strategy and Governance Team to support curriculum partnerships in STEM

Action taken by WELS:

  • a WELS Curriculum Partnership Team has been established including Academic - Faculty CP lead, SM (Curriculum Partnerships) and other senior CM support. Roles and responsibilities of WELS CP team include QA for the annual review of CP and response to the CuPC Scrutiny group feedback 

Action taken by FBL:

  • Faculty support for curriculum partnerships is now being managed by the FBL Quality and Development Manager with aspects handled by the Teaching Directors and Programme Managers and overseen by Boards of Studies


Completed 2022/23 

Executive Deans


4.3. Dedicated resource funded and filled.



Actions identified for Affiliated Research Centres (ARCs):

4.4. Graduate School will continue to develop effective partnership working with ARCs. This includes new ARC and Faculty Quarterly meetings (established 2020/2021) to bring ARC management of the Post Graduate Research programme into closer working relationships with the Graduate School and faculties 

4.4 Quarterly meetings are now part of BAU

Completed 2022

Director, Graduate School


4.4. Engagement of ARCs in ARC and Faculty Quarterlies. Positive feedback on the partnership by ARCs in their Annual Institutional Monitoring feedback

  Commendations; Recommendations; Affirmations Action agreed Progress Date for Completion Action lead VCE Success Indicators










The action being taken to develop

the virtual learning environment that improves accessibility and supports an enhanced digital teaching and learning experience. (paragraph 63)

5.1. The VLE has a clear roadmap of development, and this will be updated to reflect the ambitions outlined within the OU’s Teaching and Learning Plan (see recommendation 10) once it is implemented from 2022-27

5.1 The DSE team met with the Chair of the Learning and Teaching Group in 2021/22 to share work. Any outcome of the Teaching and Learning Plan that the VLE is unable to deliver will be considered and built into the VLE roadmap if necessary.  Quarterly continual enhancements and updates are made to the VLE based on direct student feedback and roadmap requirements 

Completed – now part of the Teaching and Learning Plan implementation.

Director, Digital Student Experience


Increase student satisfaction with the VLE as evidenced from increased ‘System Usability Scores’ (SUS).   NB Nov 22 - this is the sixth time the SUS survey has been completed. This survey compares new and continuing students using OSEP theme module websites (VLE). The average score for all students responding to the survey has remained stable at 72.7 (slight decrease from 74.3 In 2021) and continues to be above the industry standard of 68  

5.2. We are continually developing our VLE and learning systems to ensure they present our current content as effectively and accessibly as possible for our students. These include, but are not exclusive to, full digital experience redesign (2016), enhanced provision of alternative digital formats of our content (continual updates), print version function (2016) and the addition of the OU Study app (2019-21) which as a companion to our VLE enables students to access their module content via an app either online or offline

5.2 A full accessibility review of the VLE is planned for early 2022 and any identified areas for improvement will be part of a roadmap for 2022

July 2023



Dashboard data indicate increased VLE usage



5.3. The OU Study app has now been fully rolled out to all modules, this enables all students the ability to use their content offline, continued enhancements are part of our roadmap for 2022 onwards







5.4. CIO continue to fund, resource and grow the Accessibility and Usability Evaluation team in LXT, this team offers professional evaluation expertise, training, advice, and guidance on creating accessible digital student experiences across the organisation

5.4. Examples of this work in progress can be seen in planned training for all OU IT developers in early 2022 and new advice and guidance on creating accessible documents etc.

Completed - now BAU      

5.5. A strategic programme of work to reduce fragmentation of the student experience is currently underway with the aim of redesigning the student-facing experience and delivering a seamless, coherent, and effective overall digital experience for all our students (pending strategic investment), focusing on personalisation of content and support and building a safe, effective and vibrant community 

5.5. We have now secured strategic funding for a new DXP system that will enable us to provide a more seamless overall student experience (this will not directly change the VLE learning and teaching experience but will support it). The AUE team have been involved in the procurement stage to ensure the product meets our accessibility Piloting of the new experience for student testing is being rolled out from Feb 2023, with the aim to release to all students in Summer 2023

Summer 2023    

A new student portal released to students in summer 2023


The action being taken to develop and formalise the processes that will support the establishment, management and oversight of Curriculum Partnerships and ensure consistency across all faculties. (paragraph 150)

6.1 The programme of work begun in late 2019 to address specific shortcomings in the processes for managing curriculum partnerships (CP) and ensure more consistency of process across faculties and ongoing compliance with regulatory expectations, will continue in 2022 with oversight from CPMG. There will be regular progress reports to CuPC

The Curriculum Partnerships Intranet Pages were created and launched in November 2021. This provides information, advice and guidance to all OU staff on Curriculum Partnerships. (all polices and documents on the intranet will be updated and reuploaded on a 2 year review cycle - due for review again from September 2023)

The Curriculum Partnerships Advisory Group (previously the Curriculum Partnerships Management Group) submits an update report three times a year to CuPC on all Curriculum Partnership activity

The full curriculum partnerships annual review report is still submitted to CUPC and a progress report on the annual review actions is still submitted mid-cycle

CPMG was renamed to CPAG in 2022/23 as a result of feedback and the need for the group to fulfil a management and advisory capacity so that those developing partnerships can seek advice and guidance from the group. Standing items on the agenda have been added to encourage members to share updates/problem/issues and best practice for across the university about curriculum partnerships.  Lessons learnt papers are also routinely brought to the group to share the learnings with members.

CUPC have asked that CPAG review and approve the Register of Collaborative Provision and oversee and monitor the actions and recommendations that come out of the CP annual review

CPAG meets 4 times a year and has representation from across the University. Representation has grown to also encompass student policy, representatives from other developing partnerships and the quality lead for OUVP

CPAG also invites guest speakers to the group from across the University to help with ensuring awareness of areas that might help or impact on partnerships 


OUVP Deputy Director in association with faculties


Exec Deans

6.1. Review completed. Processes approved by Curriculum Partnership Committee (CuPC) and implemented. CP actions/progress as standard CuPC agenda item.



Further actions identified:

6.2. The establishment of a dedicated resource (based within OUVP) to oversee CP activity



Head of OUVP


6.2. Dedicated resource funded and filled.

  Commendations; Recommendations; Affirmations Action agreed Progress Date for Completion Action lead VCE Success Indicators










Revises the use of the Relationship Agreement, in order to enable student representatives to communicate the closing of feedback loops more readily with the student body. (paragraph 45)


Colleagues from Students Association (SA) PVC (S) and the governance team met in 2021/22 to agree a programme of partnership activity to address this recommendation. It was noted that there were two separate elements to this

 a. how reps can communicate with the wider student body to communicate the closing of feedback loops

b. how student reps can communicate with each other on confidential matters.

The issue goes beyond just the use of the Relationship agreement but also includes the governance code and the volunteer confidentiality agreement 

The programme of activity will involve:

Stage 1 – agreeing a set of principles around what we collectively want that communication, and those relationships to look like

Stage 2 – identifying barriers to meeting those principles (for both a and b) and ways in which these could be overcome. These barriers may (or may not) include the content of the Relationship Agreement, the governance code of conduct, and the volunteer confidentiality agreement; the way in which these documents are communicated; the technical ways in which papers are shared; and the ways in which staff and students involved are supported to carry out their roles

Stage 3 – addressing the barriers, including making any necessary amendments to the documents, and improving support and communications as necessary

A Task and Finish Group on Supporting and Improving 

Academic Representation ran from July 2021 to October 2022, which included addressing this recommendation as one of its objectives. Its outputs and end of project report were signed off by the Student Voice Steering Group in November 2022. Stages 1 and 2 as outlined were completed on schedule by 31 July 2021, including resolving issues around the Students Association confidentiality form

Other key documents were reviewed and amended in partnership with the Students Association, including updating the University’s Code of Conduct for engagement with university governance. New and refreshed guidance for staff and students has been developed and circulated. Furthermore, a longstanding commitment to develop a Code of Practice for Student Representation has been actioned, and regular meetings instigated to review progress



















PVC (S) (Student Voice team) in association with SA and governance team.






Agreed principles and action plan by 31 July 2021. Completed work in November 2022.


Positive feedback from those involved in governance including student reps. 


Long term increase in feedback from wider student body about academic representation.


Increased use of Student Voice website


Increased satisfaction score for student representation in National Student Survey (NSS) – Q26


Works with the Student Association to develop and implement an effective mechanism for capturing and responding to the PGR student voice. (paragraph 46)


Actions taken/planned:

8.1. The Graduate School has increased the membership of the PGR-GS Liaison group to include three new PGR student members and representation from across the faculties. Faculties to work with Graduate School to support Faculty/School processes for responding to student voice







Director of Graduate School in association with the SA

PVC (Res)

8.1 Increased representation of student groups at Graduate School Liaison group and increased awareness of the Liaison group in faculties/schools



8.2. The Graduate School converted the 22 June 2021 Liaison group meeting into a Town Hall meeting where PGRs can submit questions to Graduate School and Faculty staff; all PGRs can attend 

8.2 The format was successful so there is now a formalised plan to convert further liaison group meetings into Town Halls




8.2 Increased access of all PGR students to raise issues regarding their studies centrally through the Graduate School and OUSA, and in their home faculty and/or School



8.3. The Student Voice Steering Group (SVSG), which is a partnership between the Students Association and the University and has oversight of the University’s Student Voice activities, has had an initial discussion about integration of PGR students into Student Voice work more broadly 

8.3 The following actions were completed in 2021/22: a section for PGR students included in the 21/22 Student Voice Action Plan; a specific place for a PGR student on the SVSG; annual reports on PGR Student Voice to SVSG





8.3 Improved integration of PGR Student Voice activities, and of PGRs more broadly, into overall Student Voice picture


Ensures the timely delivery of teaching materials in alternative formats so that students who require them are not disadvantaged. (paragraph 50)


The following actions are planned to address this recommendation:

9.1. Review of annual maintenance schedules to ensure despatch of printed packs two weeks before the use date in the study calendar and accurate student use dates for all items and mailings and embed this approach into business as usual


Completed 2022

Student Experience and Learning Adjustments Group (StELA)


9.1. 100% of printed pack teaching mailings despatched two weeks before use date in the study calendar or alternative mitigation solution in place and advised to impacted students



9.2. Categorisation of modules to ensure relevant and appropriate production process for each module based on student demand, ensuring resource is directed to modules with highest student impact with mitigation approach agreed for low/no demand modules to enable timely response if student demand materialises


Completed 2022



9.2. Reduction in resource requirements and prioritisation of on-time delivery for modules with highest demand and acceptable response times for low/no demand modules



9.3. Use of Student Experience and Learning Adjustments Module Tracker and dashboard to identify issues in delivery earlier to ensure mitigations are in place


Completed 2022



9.3. Mitigation plan in place for any mailings that will not be on time including bespoke advice & guidance for any affected students and clear timely communications



9.4. Clear articulation to students of the alternative formats that are available to them via the module website (e.g. PDFs, kindle versions etc.) to facilitate self-serve. Clear process for claiming printing costs if need to do this themselves


Completed 2022



9.4. Students can self-serve in the case of any delays of printed pack mailings



9.5. Link with revised teaching and learning plan to embed student learning adjustments strategy and clearer articulation to students what this means for their studies


Work has commenced with a package of student learning support identified ranging from advice and guidance through to learning technologies and print.  The package of support is to be considered through StELA governance in Spring 2023 with detailed implementation plans to follow.  Overall student learning adjustments strategy sits within the institutional Accessibility Plan 

End of 2022/23



9.5. Students understand the student learning adjustments strategy before embarking on study and that printed pack is just one aspect of the alternative formats available



9.6. Link with the Foundations Programme to embed accessibility by design


Alternative solutions for StELA operations are being considered to utilise the benefits of the Foundations Programme and to move towards adjustment solutions built as part of the production process. Work is currently in the scoping stage. Solutions will be agreed in Summer 2023 and then implementation milestones will be developed 

End of 2202/23 



9.6. New modules have all types of learning adjustment solutions built into the standard production process rather than a bolt-on of module website production



9.7. Institutional connections between Securing Greater Accessibility Group, Equality and Diversity Inclusion (EDI) Steering Group and StELA to increase wider awareness and commitment to accessibility across all aspects of student delivery





9.7. VCE sponsorship of accessibility and accessibility action plan confirmed

Noted that PVC (S) is VCE sponsor for Accessibility and a Director of Accessibility will be recruited to coordinate this work across the institution



Confirms its future intentions to deliver a digital pedagogy and clearly communicates the future accessibility of learning resources to existing and prospective students. (paragraph 76)


10.1. A new University Teaching and Learning plan will clarify future intentions in relation to digital pedagogy and accessibility of learning resources.  The approach planned will recognise the changing context of higher education and the worlds of work, developments in technology, the challenges of digital poverty and digital exclusion and the accessibility needs of our diverse student body. This will enable an appropriate blend of media and interactive formats and ensure that those who need access to print based materials will continue to benefit from them.

10.2. Work on digital inclusion will look to address access to broadband and equipment, assistive technologies and digital skills development.  The Digital Inclusion Task and Finish Group are working on a plan for implementation to reduce digital exclusion for all students.  As part of this, they will utilise data from the Policy and Controls team on expenditure for Covid19 measures (payment categories currently used in the Students Assistance Fund – SAF) in order to map need and plan future support. 











The Teaching and Learning Plan was approved by Senate in June 2022 following extensive consultation. The initial implementation plan was endorsed by VCE-Academic in December 2022.  Updates will be provided to QAC and SEC annually from October 2023

A Stakeholder Communications Plan and Implementation Plan have been developed in order to engage the wider University community, including the student body



The Digital Inclusion Task and Finish Group used quantitative and qualitative data on students’ lived experiences of digital exclusion to identify solutions and these are being implemented. This activity has included:

  • Ensuring prospective students without basic digital skills are signposted to appropriate support and resources
  • Providing more flexible funding to support digital inclusion
  • Developing Digital Inclusion Principles, which will be embedded across the OU following approval
  • Increasing awareness of support for digital inclusion and the SCONUL Access Scheme
  • Running a seminar on digital inclusion to share evidence and good practice across the sector
  • Reviewing diagnostics and communications during registration and recommending enhancements
  • Exploring enhancements to communications and support for digital inclusion during induction
  • Commencing research into areas where students are most at risk of digital exclusion due to poor/no broadband connectivity
  • Exploring joining the Online Centres Network to provide access to free data for financially disadvantaged students
  • Planning to collaborate with other universities on a higher education sector-wide strategy for digital inclusion and contribute to a more joined up approach to digital skills learning, through the #JoiningTheDots initiative. 

October 2023


Implementation planned for 2022-2027




Ongoing during 2022/23














Teaching and Learning Plan Steering Group








Digital Inclusion Management Group

















Success indicators will be included in the annual reports related to progress in delivering priority actions and in embedding the teaching and learning principles.


No students will be impacted by digital poverty/digital exclusion – the success indicator for this will be developed in the plan