[access-uk] Fw: The Open University On-Line

  • From: "Eleanor Burke" <eleanorburke@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bcab@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 19:26:42 -0000

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Eleanor Burke 
To: bcab@xxxxxxxxxxxxx ; access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 7:21 PM
Subject: The Open University On-Line 

I am a student with the Open University.  This university prides itself on its 
equal treatment of all students and on its on-line distance learning.

This year I studied for a Certificate in English Law.  The results came out on 
9 December, only I got no examination result.  When I heard the results were 
out I looked on my Home Page, this is how the Open University communicates with 
students.  We go on-line to our Home Page where we read notices relating to our 
courses and get our exam results this way.  I followed the link to Examination 
Results on my Home Page and the next Window that opened informed me that my 
result was still Pending.  This was very strange as all students had their 
results. In all the years I have studied with the Open University I have never 
heard of examination results being Pending. 

I attempted to contact the Open University by telephone and was put through to 
the Examinations Office.  An answerphone there said that students should refer 
to their Home Page for further information relating to their Examination 
results.  Please note I am not quoting the message on the answerphone bverbatum 
ut stating its content.  

I then e-mailled course Managers and the head of the Law Faculty Prof. Garry 
Slaplper.  Prof Slapper did not reply to my e-mail.  I made it quite clear that 
I was a blind student and had no examination result while other students hadf 
been given their results on-line.  I thought that maybe due to my visual 
impairment I was simply having difficulty in accessing my results and felt sure 
one of the Managers would get back to me to talk me through how to navagate my 
Home Page.  At least I thought they would get someone from the Disabled 
Student's Office to assist me in case it was a matter of me being unable to 
navagate my Home Page correctly.  No such help was forthcoming.  In fact all I 
met was a total wall of silence and even those that did e-mail me said they 
were referring the matter to the Examinations Office.  Then one Manager 
e-mailed me and said I should follow the information on my home page.  So much 
for her understanding of blind people and their use of the Internet.  I wonder 
how she would have done herself with no vision and under stress not having an 
examination result when all other students did.  IThis comment from a lawyer.  

I  decided that as nobody at the Open University would take a call from me 
about my exam results, or the lack of them, and nobody would give me any 
constructive information through e-mail, all I can do is watch my home page 
every day or twice a day.

Next thing I know when I go on to my Home Page, Examination Results has been 
removed altogether.  I tried to explain to the Open University that as a 
Disabled student I really needed some answers as I actually feel now I am being 
discriminated against.  Why shouldn't I have my results like all other 
students.  They will not tell me how many disabled students got no result this 
year nor will they tell me if able-bodied students in my group got a Pending 

I want to bring this issue to the attention of Disabled groups as the Open 
University is a form of distance learning and depends heavily on the use of 
information technology and  particularly as I am left alone without any support 
and only advised to consult my Home Page on my computer.  How much more 
impersonal and non-caring can the Open University get towards a disabled 
student?  If any of you know of a pressure group concerned with disabled 
students and Internet Distance Learning please can you e-mail me the details 
immediately either through the list or off list at eleanorburke1@xxxxxxxxxx as 
I need to seek professional advice from those dealing with disabled people and 
information technology.

Thank you all very much for taking the time to read this e-mail.  A very 
distressed blind student here. I certainly will not be having a Happy Christmas 
this year on the basis of my Open University hard year of study.  If any of you 
are Open University students I would also like to hear from you.


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  • » [access-uk] Fw: The Open University On-Line - Eleanor Burke