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01 May 2012

iTunes U/YouTube series wins Learning on Screen Award

The History of English in 10 Minutes praised for originality

The History of English in 10 Minutes praised for originality

The History of English in Ten Minutes, one of The Open University’s iTunes U/YouTube commissions, has been recognised at the British Universities Film & Video Council’s Learning On Screen Awards. The series won the ‘Education In-House Production Award’ at the ceremony at the BFI, Southbank, London, on Thursday 26th April.

The Awards celebrate and reward excellence in the use of moving image and related media in learning, teaching and research. Giving The OU’s series a unanimous vote, organisers praised it for its originality, graphics and humour.

Voiced by Clive Anderson, The History of English in Ten Minutes is a light-hearted look at the history of English that squeezes 1600 years of history into ten one-minute bites. It uncovers the sources of English words and phrases, from Shakespeare and the King James Bible, to America and the Internet, and follows the story of English growing from a small tongue into a major global language, later reflecting on its future in the 21st century. The series has clocked up almost two million views on the OU’s iTunes U and YouTube channels.

The news comes just weeks after The OU became the first University in Europe to reach more than one million active subscriptions through the iTunes U app, and more than 50 million international iTunes U downloads.

On winning the award, OU Executive Producer Catherine Chambers, said: “We hope that this series demonstrates the value of taking a creative approach to Open Educational Resources, in terms of using informal yet highly informative learning, to engage potential students. We’re delighted to have won this award for a series that was a lot of fun to make. I would like to thank everyone involved for their continued support of iTunes U/YouTube, and for being so great to work with in developing creative, engaging content for mainstream audiences and inspiring existing and potential students.”

The idea and vision for the bespoke Open Media Unit-funded production originated and was managed in-house, with a script writer and animator brought in to help execute the vision. Philip Seargent in the Faculty of Education and Language Studies was the academic consultant on the series.

Notes to editors

The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.7 million students and has more than 264,000 current students, including 18,000 overseas.

The OU has been one of the top three UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2010/11 it had a 93 per cent satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.
In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) the Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 17.7 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 50 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Life, Coast, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

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