Bespoke service 1

August 1, 2003

To use the Open University as "evidence" that teaching and research need not be linked is to misunderstand how the OU works ("Role split is an attack on identity", THES, July 25).

The OU operates a hub-and-spoke design to deliver supported distance learning. The "spokes" are associate lecturers whom the OU recruits and trains to tutor students in locations worldwide. These are the visible face of the system for most students.

However, that system depends on the research-based "hubs" of central academics who work in course design teams to develop and write course content and on whose research and scholarship the quality of the courses rests.

Susan Segal-Horn
Open University Business School

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