The Open University (OU) works in partnership with the BBC to co-fund programmes from in-house and independent suppliers, totalling around 25 learning journey projects a year, across all BBC TV channels and radio stations.
Recent learning journey projects and the OU's priority subject areas are listed below along with information on the commissioning processes involved in working with the OU.
Note: Learning journey means the educational journey that enhances and enriches the broadcast experience that the viewer takes after watching/listening to the programme.
The OU is currently looking for proposals which fall within the following five subject strands, representing the breadth of the OU curriculum:
The BBC and OU hold editorial commissioning meetings four times a year to discuss future projects and identify forthcoming productions that may be suitable Learning Journey Projects.
Proposals are initially considered by the OU Broadcast Commissioner and then by members of OU academic staff with expertise in the relevant area.
Monthly business meetings are held to agree which projects are to be confirmed as Learning Journey Projects. Opportunities for additional materials such as extended interviews, bespoke filming, archive content will be agreed with the Production team at the business stage.
The aim is for contracts to be agreed and contracted within two Business meetings following the initial consideration by the OU Broadcast Commissioner. As part of the contract the OU will agree a half page document outlining the editorial aim of the Learning Journey Project.
After a series has been commissioned, the OU's Open Media Unit runs each co-production with the BBC as a broadcasting project. A project meeting will be set up early in the collaboration to discuss all the activities involved in the project, including:
OU academics will work with the Production Team to ensure that the project can meet the educational aims of a Learning Journey project and to assess what support can be made available at research and scripting stages and whether there is any need for academic involvement during filming.
Advice is given at all significant stages along the production process. Usually the following points are used for consultation unless the team agree that a different approach would be more appropriate:
Every programme should invite the viewer to follow-up their interest in the topic covered and the OU will develop associated online, and, if agreed, other printed materials, and invest in wrap-around learning activities in order to enhance the learning value of the programme to both parties.
These assets will be described in a call to action at the end of each programme, prior to the end credits, to form the start of the Learning Journey. On average, half a million viewers a year start a learning journey resulting from a BBC OU partnership programme.
The OU will always acquire as a minimum, rights to use the programme in materials for its students registered in the UK and staff. It may also acquire additional sales rights. Commercial rights will be negotiated between OUWW and the Commercial Agency.
Projects suitable for Open University funding should be formally submitted to the genre commissioners and controllers in the usual way via e-commissioning. If you wish to discuss ideas further with the OU, in the first instance contact Caroline Ogilvie, Broadcast Commissioner for the OU.
The process is the same for independent productions and the agreement with the independent will incorporate the OU rights and requirements.
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