The Open University commissioned Sero to i) provide Paul Bacsich as Chair for an externally-run future-oriented Vision and Strategy Appraisal of Open University Library Services and related student services, ii) recommend jointly with the OU two other Director-level external panel members in addition to a senior officer from OUSA, and iii) support the appraisal with scoping studies. These included one major one (by Paul) on support for distance learning students (updating an earlier Sero study) another (by David) on support for research, and a third on policy/market analyses within the OU core footprint (so across all four home nations and the Republic of Ireland). In line with standard procedures, a Self-Evaluation Document was prepared by OU Library staff.
The project ran over nine months from July 2015 to March 2016. The external panel sat for four days in December and over 50 staff took part in the sessions. As scoping for the panel Paul had earlier interviewed individually or in small groups over 50 staff including senior management, management (Deans and Directors), academics, support staff, research students and students.
The Distance Learning Scoping Study analysed by means of visits, telephone interviews, and desk research four open university partners in Europe and Canada plus eight UK HEIs active in distance learning including one leading private university.
Conclusions and the studies are confidential except that the interviews of open universities were done under a more open arrangement typical of the European open university association and so a summary report is available as part of a wider study – https://lirias.kuleuven.be/bitstream/123456789/555682/1/Library%27s+Knowledge+Resources+for+Students+and+Teaching+Staff.pdf
In addition, in line with standard Open University procedures, the online student consultation is also available – http://www.open.ac.uk/students/consultation/sites/www.open.ac.uk.students.consultation/files/files/library-services-student-consultation-summary-Oct-2015.pdf