THE DIRECTOR of the Open University (OU), Jim Miller, was the guest speaker last week at Brechin Rotary Club’s meeting at the Caledonian Hotel.
Mr Miller is a former chief executive of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and his new role enabled him to give a detailed view of the origins and development of what has become Europe’s largest university in terms of student numbers.
He explained that it was Harold Wilson who put forward the idea of ‘the University of the Air’, as it was first known in the early 1960s, although the BBC had mooted the possibility as far back as 1920s.
The speaker proudly mentioned that it was a Fife MP - Minister of the Arts Jennie Lee – who was the driving force in establishing this institution which has enabled so many to take part in higher education when they otherwise would have been unable to.
Taking a look at the OU’s development, Mr Miller said it had moved from the old black and white, dodgy pullover lecturer programmes to the new world of education through the internet, ebooks and ipads, embracing an ever changing virtual learning environment.
He concluded saying that surveys have shown that the Open University now has a higher level of student satisfaction and teacher rating than all of the top universities.
Mr Miller was thanked by Rotarian Dr Stanley Callaghan.