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Get together on Open Day

Many OU graduates only visit the OU's Walton Hall campus after they have graduated, Open Day often being their first chance to visit the HQ campus of the institution to which they signed up. For current students too, it's an opportunity to 'get a feel' for the university.

The OU's Walton Hall campus is home to nearly 3,000 OU staff, academics, editors and designers, administrators and warehouse staff.

The OU BBC Production Centre is a highlight of Open Day, where visitors can get to grips with the high-tech equipment which brings OU programmes to their homes.

Open Day is also a lot of fun, with the accent on taking part, through quizzes and games. This year's offerings include computer-assisted career guidance and the Technology faculty will be demonstrating its latest devices, including a satellite-based navigational aid for visually-impaired people.

A chance to go gold panning, or to have puzzling rocks and fossils identified will be given by staff in the Earth Sciences department. The ever-present Web will feature in the display by the Centre for Information Technology; visitors will be able to explore web-based conferences. A special 'snakes and ladders' game will represent the up and downs of OU study. You'll be able to measure your nicotine level, and examine spectroscopic studies of a 2,500 year old ice man, in the Chemistry department, while in Biology you can take an interactive field trip.

Transport links to Walton Hall are: by car, junction 13 or14 on the M1; by train, Milton Keynes Central; public transport will run to and from campus. Displays are open until 5pm with entertainment continuing until around midnight. There is also free camping on campus from 6pm on Friday, 26 June until 3pm on Sunday, 28 June although a plot must be reserved in advance.

For map, booking details and information, write to: Kathryn Smith, Estates,Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

email K.E.Smith@open.ac.uk.

Cultural management

The cross-cultural nature of modern management is highlighted in a pilot programme, launched by the OU Business School this month, and open to students anywhere in the world.

Around 40 people will be studying the OUBS course, 'The Capable Manager' (B600) from locations in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, using an asynchronous Internet-mediated conferencing network, First Class, to entirely replace the traditional face-to-face tutorials and day schools.

"Students on this programme will be using exactly the same study materials as everyone else, but the difference is they don't need to physically attend tutorials, so they can be located anywhere in the world," said Gilly Salmon of the Business School. "We will be looking very deliberately at diversity of cultural backgrounds - not just in a theoretical, conceptual way but as part of the day-to-day experience, seeing what managers from different backgrounds make of the same material." Exercises will include discussing and comparing the ways in which the same bottle of wine is marketed at different locations round the globe.

The Business School already offers its courses in many parts of the world but this is the first time it has dispensed entirely with on-the-spot tutorials - although each student will still be allocated a personal tutor who provides individual support and marks their assignments electronically. "We believe this kind of on-line study is going to grow,"said Gilly. However, while on-line study is seen as viable for students in far flung locations, there are no plans to replace face-to-face tutorials where tutors are available on the spot.

Strawberry teas

There's a chance to hob nob with fellow graduates and their families in the gracious surroundings of King's College, Cambridge on Saturday 13 June. The Association of Open University Graduates is holding a strawberry tea, non-members and families welcome. Admission pounds 7.50 by ticket only from Margaret Winham, 41, Hythegate, Old Werrington Meadows, Peterborough PE4 6TZ, tel 01733 320649. The AOUG is an independent association, promoting the interests of OU graduates and supporting the continuing development of the university. It runs an annual programme of educational and social events, at national and regional level. Further info: Tia Downer, tel. 01908 653316;email T.R.Downer@open.ac.uk

Mental health

The OU's mental health course 'Mental Health and Distress: Perspectivesand Practices' is now available as a stand-alone pack of resource materials.

Aimed at anyone involved with people experiencing mental health problems, the pack is suitable for use as a training and group work resource, and for those who want to study the subject at their own pace without the need for exams and assignments.

Mental Health and Distress is available from Learning Material Sales, the Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, price pounds 160, cheques payable to Open University. Telephone: 01908 858786 to pay by Visa/Mastercard.

Canal walk

A week-long canal-walk organised by the Association of Open University Graduates will end near to campus on Open Day. Two groups, one starting from Solihull/Birmingham, the other from Slough/North London will be raising money for its Foundation for Education charity and the OU's Office for Students with Disabilities.

Luggage transport and accommodation en route are provided. The full walk,which passes through areas of superb natural beauty, takes a week but those with less time or energy can join for a single day. Non-AOUG members are welcome.

To join the Canal Walk, write to:

Ann Ryan,

102 Princess Crescent, Hawne Park,

Halesowen,

West Midlands B63 3QG (Birmingham walk);

or Mary Weller,

Rannachan,

Checkenden,

Reading, Berks RG8 0SX (London walk).

Noise, noise, noise...

Forget aircraft and screaming kids - the highest noise levels most people are exposed on a daily basis are when inside their car, according to research by students on the OU's Environmental Control and Public Health course.

As part of their study the 800 students are provided with sound level meters which they use to measure and compare ambient noise from various sources including traffic, aircraft and domestic appliances.

Owning to the high cost of supplying sound meters, the course was originally restricted to 600 students, but a donation from the Onyx Environmental Trust, a non-profit organisation which funds environmental projects, has enabled 200 extra students to be equipped for the course.

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