The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the world leader in distance teaching and the largest university in the UK. It is also well known as the UK’s most innovative and high-impact concept in higher education. Since its charter was granted in 1969, it has re-shaped the notion of quality distance learning, evolving to what the OU now calls Supported Open Learning in recognition of the extensive and flexible support offered to its 220,000 currently registered students through a vast human network of 7,400 Associate Lecturers throughout the UK and Europe.
Over 180,000 students are now regularly online, using discourse environments to work with their tutors and peers or interacting with increasing amounts of custom-developed primary and support resources via the Web and streaming media.
The Knowledge Media Institute
The Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) was set up in 1995 in recognition of the need for the OU to be at the forefront of research and development in a convergence of areas that impacted on the OU’s very nature. Approximately 70 researchers, technologists and designers work in the fields of the semantic Web and knowledge services, knowledge management, social software, new media systems, narrative hypermedia, and multimedia systems.
We were a part of the W3C WebOnt working group which created the semantic Web language OWL, the SAWSDL working group and are currently taking a leading role in the OASIS standardisation committee for Semantic Execution Environments.