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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 June, 2005, 01:52 GMT 02:52 UK
Open University in image makeover
OU advert
The OU wants to 'dispel myths' about its students
The Open University - often seen as the late-night home of bearded men in tweed jackets - is to undergo an image makeover as part of a 2m campaign.

A series of glossy TV and print adverts, designed for a "sophisticated marketplace", begins on Sunday.

To "dispel myths", they will feature a variety of ages, races and genders.

The OU is to stop its late-night lectures on BBC next year and instead focus on producing online content and distributing DVDs and CD-Roms to homes.

'Vision and purpose'

The advertising campaign - called Powering People - will run throughout June and July.

An OU spokesman said: "Growing competition in the higher and further education sectors, coupled with a more sophisticated marketplace, means the OU must raise its public profile.

"The campaign communicates powerfully the university's vision and purpose, and articulates what the OU can offer prospective students.

"It is also an important and timely reminder of how essential lifelong learning is in the knowledge society."

Preparing for an early OU lecture
The way we were: an early televised OU lecture

The OU, founded in 1969, is keen to promote the fact that more of its students are starting home learning courses during their teenage years or early 20s.

This, it says, makes it a genuine alternative to other universities, rather than applying just to those who return to education in later life.

The spokesman said: "This campaign is unlike anything the OU has done in the past.

"It imaginatively communicates the university's commitment to opening up learning opportunities to all, while at the same time reinforces the university's focus on quality, diversity and flexibility.

"Its other objectives are to dispel some of those outdated myths about the OU that still persist, to present - in a bold and interesting way - the university's leadership in flexible and supported distance learning, and to demonstrate how the university genuinely helps people achieve their goals."

The OU will concentrate on creating more "mainstream" science and arts programmes for BBC One and BBC Two - rather than the specialist late-night programmes of old - to encourage a wider audience into higher education.

It takes on around 158,000 undergraduates every year for its 360 or so courses.

Late-night OU broadcasts to go
13 May 04 |  Education
The OU then and now
23 Jun 03 |  Education


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