Open Universiteit (The Netherlands)

Specific information:                                          

  • At the Open Universiteit (OUNL) approximately 25,000 students are enrolled each year. The university is focused on Dutch speaking students, mainly from the Netherlands, Flanders and Brussels, the Dutch Antilles, Aruba and Surinam. Qualifications in all three cycles of the European HE area are offered by the OUNL.
  • The main method of instruction is blended learning with a strong emphasis on multimedia support.
  • The qualifications at the OUNL are modular, i.e. can students combine credits from modules to build the qualification of their choice. Every bachelor and master programme has courses which are compulsory, and courses which are free to choose.
  • The main language of instruction is Dutch, in a few cases also English.
  • Regarding the entry requirements the age limit is 18 year to enter the institution. No previous educational qualifications are needed to enrol in the OUNL programmes.
  • At the OUNL students enrol for one or more courses at a time. After each completed course they receive a course certificate, and they can enrol for the next course in the curriculum. The average student completes three to four courses a year. This means, that it takes three years to complete a bachelor programme, and four years to complete a master programme.
  • Usually modules offered by the OUNL do not have definite start and end dates. When a student enrols in a module, he/she gets 14 months to study the course materials and do the examination. In this period the student gets 3 changes to do the exam.
  • There are two main methods of assessment: 1) written examination (multiple choice or open questions) and 2) fulfilling a task or writing a paper. The assessment requires attendance at a centre.
  • In most cases the dates of written examinations are fixed (3 dates per year). Some multiple choice examinations can be done at the moment the student thinks he/she is ready for it. Tasks and papers can be passed to the examiner when fulfilled. After the enrolment period of a course has expired (after 14 months), the student has to buy a new ‘assessment chance’.
  • With regards to student support, examiners and course supervisors give support by mail and telephone on the content of the course. Sometimes there is a special ‘supervisor day’ on which difficult aspects of the content of a course are given special attention by the supervisor(s). Every course has a ‘discussion group’ in which students and supervisors discuss questions about the course content. General tutors give support to students in planning their studies and coping with special problems. The OUNL has developed some general electronic support programmes for students, e.g. time management, how to give a good presentation, how to write a good paper, planning my study, et cetera. There is an electronic ‘tutoring system’. When a student passes an exam, he/she gets automatically a ‘congratulations’ e-mail; when he/she fails he/she receives a ‘good luck for the next time’ e-mail (after the first failure), or a telephone call of the general tutor whether he can help (after the second failure).
  • Each faculty/school has general tutors. According to his/her place of living, every student is connected to a OUNL study centre. Some faculties/schools have personal tutors at the study centres, others don’t. The OUNL has 16 study centres in the Netherlands, 6 in Flanders and Brussels.
  • To get access to the library every students gets a OU ID card. With this card he/she gets free entrance at the libraries of all regular universities in the Netherlands and Flanders. Furthermore, OUNL students have free access to a certain number of relevant electronic library databases, scientific journals, et cetera.

For more information visit the web site of the Open Universiteit: http://www.ou.nl/