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The Open University Lecturer Reviews

Updated 31 August 2017
32 reviews

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Lecturer

3.3
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The Open University Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks
Peter Horrocks
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • I found there was a great emphasis on work-life balance (in 11 reviews)

  • Excellent IT systems to enable work from home (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Bullying culture, micro-management, not a lot of support and no opportunities for career progression (in 7 reviews)

  • Sometimes people in Milton Keynes make stupid decisions but that happens anywhere (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Associate Lecturer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Lecturer in Birmingham, England
    Former Employee - Associate Lecturer in Birmingham, England
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Open University part-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    You count! The impact that you can have on providing life-changing opportunities for people who did not have the chance to go to university via the traditional route

    Cons

    The OU is charging, and whilst change is inevitable in all walks of life, it is having a major impact on the fundamental values that underpinned an OU learning experience.

    Advice to Management

    Remember the USPs that set the OU apart from the rest and made it the 'national treasure' that it became. Staff were proud to work for it, not because it paid well but simply because it was the OU!


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Chaotic, dispiriting"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lecturer in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Lecturer in Milton Keynes, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Lovely colleagues, working for a really large organisation with a strong social mission. This should be a perfect job.

    Cons

    Unfortunately the social mission is nowhere to be found in management. Endless significant changes, huge army of 'project managers', lots of people employed to do stuff which is nothing to do with the core purpose of a university. Obsession with metrics and analytics while running frontline staff into the ground. This university flourished on the goodwill of its students and staff; sadly in recent years poor management has done away with both. For academics, large administrative load and reduction of research time - now driven by external income and REF.

    Advice to Management

    It's probably too late but please stop destroying everything that has worked for decades. Put ALs and the faculties back at the forefront and stop the drain of resources of FutureLearn and vanity projects. Stop appointing more business people and external consultants at £££s. Staff are still dealing with the fallout of faculty reorganisation, schools, regional closures, the disastrous GTP - I could go on.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Insecure and chaotic, but rewarding work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Milton Keynes, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University part-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Get to teach earnest, conscientious students, mainly home based so flexible as work to own timetable, occasionally get to meet students at face-to-face tutorials, fee waivers for university study, free access to online journals

    Cons

    Really isolating as work solo, rarely get to meet colleagues and discuss work; no career progression in fact the opposite as increasing redundancies; in 7 years still in the same position teaching the same module regardless of effort; career development opportunities non-existent; expected to do a lot of work unpaid.

    Advice to Management

    Consider your lecturers' other commitments before upping the workload, offer more opportunities for research, offer more opportunities for ALs to meet socially every now and again.


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  5. "Associate lecturer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University part-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Can work from home, can study for free, a nice community to be part of

    Cons

    Job insecurity, high expectations of students, low rate of pay

    Advice to Management

    Improve job security for associate lecturers


  6. "Great values, poor security"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Associate Lecturer
    Current Contractor - Associate Lecturer
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University as a contractor (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    It's great to work for an institution that has values I share. I am proud of the OU's history of making education accessible to all. The teaching and learning materials are second to none and I have learnt a huge amount working for the OU for 14 years.

    Cons

    The role of the Associate Lecturer is undervalued and poorly paid despite us the key drivers of the education opportunities offered by the OU and the only person many students ever interact with.

    Advice to Management

    Work hard to keep your best ALs, Give permanent central contracts and use our skills more creatively. Without the ALs you will have no OU.


  7. "Great institution, good employer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Independence, respect, interesting work, good communications

    Cons

    I have enjoyed every minute of working for the OU so I cannot come up with a con. Sorry.


  8. "Associate Lecturer - Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Associate Lecturer in Southampton, England
    Former Employee - Associate Lecturer in Southampton, England
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Open University part-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Always felt very supported and valued by university hierarchy
    Materials I taught from were excellent
    I loved working with the range of students and how motivated they were
    Central support services e.g. For disabled students were great
    University ethos was exemplary in its dedication to helping everyone do well - staff as well as students.

    Cons

    Marking times were enormous - much longer than allowed for in salary calculations.

    Advice to Management

    Make allowances for marking time more realistic and try to pay ALs more as a result.
    Otherwise, a fine institution and one I was proud to work for.


  9. "Associate Lecturer role"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Lecturer in London, England
    Former Employee - Associate Lecturer in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Open University (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    High social status because the OU is a well regarded institution with a strong collaboration with the BBC and has many current and former students.
    Lots of autonomy as an Associate Lecturer in carrying out duties. Collegiate relationship wiith other staff members. Flexibility of working hours.

    Cons

    The majority of time is spent doing marking and writing feedback. Marking and feedback takes much longer in practice than the formally contracted hours nominally imply. So a salary with an hourly rate of about £16 per hour may in practice work out as less than £10 per hour.

    Advice to Management

    Increase salaries (or contracted hours) for Associate Lecturers on courses to reflect the actual length of time that marking typically takes, rather than a nominal time for a 'perfect assignment'.


  10. "Associate Lecturer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Bristol, England
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Bristol, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    There are deadlines to meet, but I work when I want to work. If the weather is bad then I work, if it is dark I work, when the weather is good I usually go and climb a mountain or take the dog out up the hill, go and do some watercolour painting.
    I can work from home.
    There is nobody checking up on me so long as I mark work by a certain date and deliver tutorials on agreed dates.
    Love it.
    Great network of colleagues using Forums and synchronous conferencing.
    Very good selection of staff development events and expenses paid for travel to these.
    None of the long hours I worked in school.
    No rude arrogant badly behaved children to teach, just adults who want to learn and who appreciate your efforts.

    Cons

    It has its peaks and troughs of being busy and sometimes it is manic.
    There can be demanding students but management are supportive in dealing with these.

    Advice to Management

    I love my job.


  11. "Fantastic place to work!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Edinburgh, Scotland
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Edinburgh, Scotland
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University part-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Academic freedom
    Great support
    Staff development second to none
    Good conditions

    Cons

    Pressure points around marking assignment times.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work.