Hellenic Open University
From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
The Hellenic Open University (Open University of Greece, HOU), is a multi-school university run by the Greek State. The institution, which is based in Patras, Greece, provides distance education exclusively, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels (though a number of face-to-face 'tutorials' are provided in several regions each year).
The exact role of elearning and online materials in particular is not immediately clear. However, according to its instructional publications, HOU adopted Holmberg (1989) ideas on the central role distance learning materials play in students’ mastery of distance learning studies. HOU also faces internal and administrative challenges, some of which do not support or assist in developing its distance learning methods that can be easily delivered via ICT.
During the process of student selection, priority is given to applicants who are over twenty-three years of age; therefore, most of the students are employed and their average age is of 30-40 years old. Moreover, students with special needs are admitted to the Hellenic Open University and the available places for them amount to an additional three percent of the set number of places for undergraduate study programmes. For admission to an undergraduate programme a high school degree is necessary.
In the academic year 2006-2007, HOU served 15,026 undergraduate and 8,624 graduate students enrolled in six undergraduate and 24 graduate courses .
The Hellenic Open University web site is at http://www2.eap.gr/frameset.jsp?locale=en
The Hellenic Open University was founded in 1992, with the first cohort of students admitted in 1999.
Course materials may be traditional (books, notes, evaluation forms), audio-visual (sound tapes, videotapes, optic discs) and in any other electronic form (multimedia and Internet). Most educational materials used by HOU are original, that is they are created by a team of experts. This team, for example, determines responsibilities and frames within which each team member operates. Members include: a writer, who writes the material following particular specifications demanded by form and content; an academic responsible for each program; a reader, who ‘fact checks’ the study texts for scientific quality; and, finally, a Distance Education expert who ensures that all texts comply with the pedagogical principles needed to support effective DE delivery.
See the Greece country page for a more detailed analysis of HOU.