Open University seeks £20m platform to support ‘student journey from enquiry to graduation’

Written by Sam Trendall on 16 September 2021 in News
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UX system is intended to provide a ‘seamless’ experience for learners

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The Open University is to spend as much as £24m on a digital system that can provide learners with a “seamless student journey from enquirer through to graduation”.

The distance-learning institution, which is the largest undergraduate university in the UK, has published a contract notice inviting bids from potential suppliers of a “UX layer” – referring to ‘user experience’, a design term encompassing all a user’s interactions with an organisation, and the quality thereof.

“Our vision is to create a seamless, connected, optimised and personalised journey, that is automated wherever possible,” the university said. “To do this we want to combine our different websites and services to create one continuous, easy to use student journey.”

Potential providers of a UX software platform should be able to offer a product “capable of delivering our mixed media content”, according to the procurement notice. 


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“This will be a cloud-based [software-a-a-service] solution,” it added. “It will be hosted in the cloud and consistent with OU policies around architecture and security. The solution should provide a safe and secure platform for students and OU staff to use and collaborate and be able to publish information from a headless content store.”

The university said that it requires only software licences – and does not need the chosen provider to offer implementation services.

The supplier will be signed up for an initial five-year term, which could ultimately be incrementally increased to a total of 15 years. 

“Licence volumes may vary up or down over the term of the contract and additional modules offered or introduced by the supplier in the future may be purchased as part of this contract following the initial implementation,” the OU said. “Any additional purchases relating to this solution will be made with the successful supplier under this contract to ensure technical compatibility, consistency and continuation of supplier support. There is no restriction on the spend value of additional purchases as this will be governed by the OU's available budget.”

Bids for the contract are open until 12 October, with the Open University looking to commence its engagement with the chosen supplier by March 2022.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on sam.trendall@dodsgroup.com.

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