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Open Universities: A British Tradition?

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Publication date1993
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages180
ISBN (print)954317478
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This book challenges the notion that the open university is a recent invention and argues that in Britain there is a long and varied tradition of similar developments, and that there has been a significant 20th century reduction in the openness of universities, particularly in the period from the 1950s to the 1970s. Selected examples of open universities from the 19th and 20th centuries are examined and compared. Particular attention is paid to: (1) the provision made by the University of London in its 19th-century role as an examining board, and later through its external degree system; (2) to the similar role performed, for very different reasons, by the Royal University of Ireland before World War I; and (3) to the work of St. Andrews University in offering an external degree-level qualification for women between 1877 and 1931. Other examples discussed range from Oxford and Cambridge, in their pre-World War ii guise, and the 19th-century Scottish universities, to the correspondence colleges and the university extension movement. The book also gives consideration to the present Open University and to other contemporary models of distance education and open learning. It also provides a historical and theoretical framework within which these developments can be better understood. Contains over 260 references and an index.