11 Jan 2013

OU welcomes move of its CPD website for teachers to a new home at Jisc

The Open University’s professional development programme for teachers – Vital – will be moving to a new provider from April, following agreement. The OU is delighted to have finalised the deal to switch over the running of Vital to Jisc to preserve and host the popular ICT portal.

From 1 April 2013, Jisc Advance will take over the established subject and special interest portals from The Open University, helping to bring about innovation in the classroom to inspire learners. Vital provides ICT support for teachers and practitioners in the classroom, facilitating the sharing of expertise and providing ideas and materials for learners.

The portals will complement Jisc Advance’s new subscription offer to schools which is due to be launched in Spring 2013. Access to the portals themselves will be free.

Peter Twining, director of Vital, commented: "I'm thrilled with this agreement with JISC Advance which is a win-win for everyone concerned. It provides a huge endorsement of the work Vital has been doing, it will help JISC raise its profile within schools, and most importantly ensures the ongoing support for teachers that the Vital subject portals provide."

Guy Lambert, CEO of Jisc Advance said: “We are delighted that The Open University selected us to provide a legacy for the Vital content. We’re looking forward to taking over the reins of this established resource portal, accessed by up to 6,000 users every year. Over time, we aspire to be in a position to extend the value the Vital portals deliver to the curriculum and to teaching and learning.”

Current users of the Vital portal will be contacted over the next few months informing them of the changes and increased benefits. Jisc will also be offering to transfer current user registrations to Jisc to retain continuity of service. Users can rest assured that the portals will remain similar with possible enhancements introduced in the future.

Notes to Editors:

The Vital Professional Development aims to support practitioners in sharing their expertise and so enhance the quality of teaching and learning. Vital provides inspiring ideas for learners, materials that can be used in the classroom, and gives opportunities to share expertise with peers.
The OU will run the Vital programme (inc the website etc) until the end of March 2013. On the 1st April 2013 JISC Advance will take over the Vital brand and website. Between now and the 1st April the OU is working with JISC to ensure that there is a smooth handover on the 31st March.
Some aspects of work that have started under the Vital umbrella will remain with the OU – specifically ( and YOTS (Your Own Technology Survey and Peter Twining will be continuing to lead on those.

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 almost 1.8 million students and has more than 250,000 current students, including over 15,000 overseas.

The OU came top for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey this year, and has been in the top three universities every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2011/12 it had a 93% 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 OU 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 25 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 56 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 Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.


Jisc is an independent education charity, owned by AoC, GuildHE and UUK. It provides UK higher education, further education and skills sectors support on the use of digital technologies. It provides advice and guidance through Jisc Advance and owns a subsidiary company, Jisc Collections and Janet Ltd, which provides an academic telecommunications network and content services for over 18 million users across the UK.

Jisc’s vision is to make the UK the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world. Jisc’s mission is to enable the education sector in the UK to perform at the forefront of international practice by exploiting fully the possibilities of modern digital empowerment, content and connectivity.

Find out more at Contact the Jisc press office on 0117 331 0658 or e-mail’

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