International Review of Research in Open and Distributed LearningBefore the creation of the United Kingdom Open University (UKOU) - its Charter was given in 1969 and the first students were admitted in 1971 - the full-time residential model of higher education was pervasive, with part-time and distance modes of study seen as separate and inferior. The UKOU demonstrated the effectiveness of distance learning but also, because of its success, in some ways inhibited change in the mainstream tertiary sector. As social and political pressures on the sector grew, higher education providers were forced to innovate and models of “open learning” offered ways forward. As a result, the distinction between “distance” and “face-to-face” delivery rapidly eroded during the 1990s. However, barriers still remain to a more radical approach to provision as a whole. More...