My current position within Student Registrations is to provide front of line services to the University's 240,000+ students. These services may include general information about Higher Education, including ways to pay, nature of study, time required to study and how The Open University would work for them etc.
I am also responsible for resolving Student queries relating to their studies i.e. study paths and study intentions, registering new students onto qualifications and ensuring any queries raised by student are forwarded to the correct department. I also am responsible for providing general advice and guidance for students in order to assist them with their study plans. My department works closely with all departments within the OU and my centre has recently been awarded a centre of excellence within the OU for our excellent knowledge based work ethic.
My duties also include processing postal registration documents. This process includes processing sponsorship invoices, staff fee waivers, postal queries (incorrect information, no form of payment etc.) and finally general registrations for students. I am also responsible for ensuring any post sent to my department incorrectly is forwarded to the correct department through our internal mail systems.
I also am regularly required to respond to e-mails from students from not only across the UK but also from across Europe and the wider world. This not only requires a high level of acumen but also knowledge and critica
ProsSpeaking with students, helping my community, friendly office manner
ConsStrange Shift patterns, Not enough financial return, strict workforce management
I worked in the Student Registration & Enquiry Assistant at the Milton Keynes campus. Initially we were told the training would be for 8 weeks but it was then cut down to 6 weeks during which we spent only 2.5 - 3 hours of the full 6 weeks actually listening to advisers taking calls. The rest of the time was spent watching powerpoint presentations on the various system the department uses. The role is not scripted so you are expected to be able to take calls from enquirers and know what you are meant to be saying, this was incredibly difficult due to the fact we had only listened to calls for 3 hours tops over the training period. Upon explaining the situation to the trainers i ended up making the decision to leave the role only to receive a call a week later asking me to return to the role on the grounds that i would receive extra one on one training. After returning to the role i was told to go live on the phones taking calls from enquirers again despite the fact I felt like i had no idea what i was meant to be saying, in the end i was paired with another team member who was in the exact same situation i was in. I remained at the role for a further 2 weeks which were incredibly stressful and difficult yet not once did i receive any additional training and when i queried this with a manager or the trainers (multiple times) all they would say is that they would look into it for me. I ended up leaving the role permanently 2 weeks later as it became clear to me no additional tr
ProsThe money is good and the campus atmosphere is great
ConsPoor training, bullying, lack of help from managers.
The OU is an interesting and fun place to work, with a diverse group of employees and personalities and a variety of roles. Is slowly turning into a more corporate environment with business models based more on a banks structure than an academic university which is free-flowing and interchangeable; there is little room for individual or team "collective" progression, little praise or communications and therefore low morale across the whole network of departments. Resource management regarding daily duties is decided by analyzing unreliable statistics rather than logical planning to provide a quality service. No feedback mechanism, opinions not really valued, only humored. No opportunity to put my own mark on my work; no individual tasks or goals to work towards. A more "human", realistic outlook is needed, and input from lower grade staff members needs to be used as they have a 360 degree understanding of the business needs and student needs and are better equipped to assist in making decisions, as opposed to middle and senior managers, who very rarely step a foot on the "trading floor". Much room for improvement, however, as a positive focus, good camaraderie between regional staff and lower level management, satisfactory leave allowance and breaks.
I have been working as a cover supervisor, History, PE and Art instructor and also taken on the role as a Pastoral Support Manager for Sixth form over the last ten years at Clacton Coastal Academy.
Over the years I have gained so much experience within my roles, for example Student management, parental engagement, careers help and advice, universities, teaching, setting up new projects, planning and delivering lesson, using a wide range of technology and media, being a first point of call for both students and parents, I have also dealt with the attendance and resolving issues, I have organised trips and events and also been in charge of issuing the bursary funds.
I’m a very enthusiastic, contentious and hardworking individual, who will always strive to make her best better and give opportunities to students and to give help and advice where needed. I work extremely well as part of a team and on individual projects. I ‘am a approachable and outgoing women who can mould herself to any given task or environment. I have always tried my best to be successful and to be a positive role model for our future generation.
I feel that I can bring my experiences and knowledge to help create wonderful outcomes and support for the students and guide them into their future.
I did not think that I would write such a bad review for a company in whose aims for lifelong learning and widening participation I support so totally. However, I feel associate lecturers have been badly let down by this company, and I now realise that I am working for a business that is willing to lead its casual workers down the garden path with promises of a permanent contract, only to renege on this commitment with no notice on the grounds that it cannot put in place effective systems to facilitate the change.
Perhaps this excuse could be valid from a small company with little experience of IT, but from the leading provider of distance learning? No!
I now realise that associate lecturers are regarded as little more than casual staff who can be used as the university sees fit. They can be lied to and given false hope (upon which some people have made serious decisions) only to have these quashed by an e-mail that states they are less important than an IT system. There are 4,900 workers affected by this in the middle of the worst pandemic and economic recession this country has seen, and these poorly valued workers have been supporting students well beyond the hours expected, throughout this crisis.
Shame on you Open University!
There is no typical day as every day throws up new and interesting challenges. I am normally at work by 8.00am and help set up the days activities and lessons for my class. As I am charged with looking after a particular individual I also ensure that the pupil is settled and ready to learn. Once that is achieved I will either take an intervention group which can range from extra Maths or phonics to social skills group. This will then normally be followed with helping the class as a whole. Occasionally I might be need to start the lesson or take the whole lesson if the teacher is busy with other duties. My day will end between 1.30 and 4.00pm dependent on what I am required to do or if I am taking an afternoon class as cover. The other members of staff are always supportive and a great deal of fun. Collectively we take particular pride in making sure no chid suffers in silence and have all signed up to a 'listen ear' programme where we make time to listen to the individual issues of our pupils.
Working with children is incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. I love every aspect of the working day from engaging with the children individual basis to helping them learn and grow in confidence.
ProsWorking with children and a good work environment
I have taught in a number of educational environments over my teaching career and have found the Open University to be the most supportive and flexible.
My present role involves distance learning with students from all over the United Kingdom as they undertake a Social Science Access Course to prepare them for degree entry or career progression.
I have learnt one of the most important factors in contributing to their success is building self confidence; often to counteract earlier negative experiences of education. The commitment of these students is impressive they are undertaking their courses of studies whilst undertaking jobs, caring for young children, being carers and giving birth during the course.
Despite not having face to face contact with my line managers more than a couple times a year I receive positive and effective support.
The hardest part of the job is perhaps not being able to actually meet the students. The most enjoyable part of the job is seeing the positive impact of completing the course in the increase in confidence and excitement for moving on to the next step of the students.
I work with people all the time and have a good understanding of them and their needs and really enjoy putting others first. I always carry myself in a professional, polite and courteous manner and strive to give good service to customers, clients and fellow colleagues. My interpersonal skills enable me to build great long lasting relationships with people at all levels and no job is too big or small. I have the ability to prioritise and work on my own initiative and maintain high levels of confidentiality, discretion and diplomacy. I am highly organised, efficient and honest. In my spare time I enjoy going to the gym, taking part in disability sport such as “Walking Football”, playing card games, spending time with family and holidaying abroad. I also partake in volunteer activities such as the “Cerebral Palsy” World cup where I was a venue assistant and steward.
Key Skills and Abilities
Customer Service/ Fire Marshall/ First Aider/ Team Work/ Computer Literate/ Confidentiality/ Flexible/ Adaptable/ Enthusiastic/ Basic DIY/ Good Communicator/ Friendly/ Approachable/ Reliable/ Health & Safety/ Knowledge of COSHH
I am in delivery management role, I manage all aspects of short online coures. My day is centered around dealing with students, and managing the Learning Advisers that support the students on these courses. I have to be sensitive to student needs and ensure I am responding in a timely manner. I liaise with the technical department to resolve IT issues, dealing with complaints by following the university procedure and investigating mitigating circumstances when a student feels they are unable to submit their assignment on time. I am also responsible for payment to the Learning Advisers.
My co-workers are a great influence and I have learnt a lot from them. I find people very open and willing to help in whatever department they are located in.
I really enjoy dealing with students, this is the reason that we exist as an institution. The most difficult part is finding a better way of doing something but being held back by systems.
Pros33 days leave a year and this excludes bank holidays.
Lecturing/Tutoring Poorly Paid Compared to Other Universities
Having worked as a lecturer in a number of other UK universities, I found a stint as an AL at the Open University quite shocking in terms of the amount of work you are expected to do for the money. It is not made clear to the students that they cannot expect a great deal of extra (unpaid) feedback from their tutors and you constantly feel pressured into working all hours of the night and day to help them. This is surprising from an online education delivery system, as there are others out there that deal with this well and make sure the students have realistic expectations.
Even beyond that, the pay is not competitive, especially in view of the amount of marking one is expected to do. For the money, the marking workload is more than double of anywhere else I've worked.
Basically, the OU may be fine if you're in admin or IT or some type of support role, but if you're a lecturer avoid, avoid, avoid!!
ProsBetter than being unemployed
ConsBadly paid and you end up working many hours for free.
Questions and answers about The Open University UK
Does The Open University UK allow for flexible working hours? Or are the hours set?
Asked 11 Apr 2022
Yes, you set your own schedule for teaching.
Answered 7 Aug 2022
flexible hours but badly paid
Answered 11 Apr 2022
Is The Open University UK hiring new workers during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Asked 7 Dec 2020
Yes, there are lots of jobs being advertised
Answered 6 Nov 2021
Yes. As far as I am aware they are now allowing’temps’ to work from home.
Answered 7 Dec 2020
What was the most challenging part of your role at The Open University UK?
Asked 7 Aug 2022
Answered 7 Aug 2022
If you were to leave The Open University UK, what would be the reason?