Arc Universities

The OpenSTEM Labs are online laboratories that allow students from anywhere in the world to participate in authentic experimental work, acquiring real data interactively as if they were in the laboratory. 

The OpenSTEM Labs challenge the traditional methods of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teaching and the need to be in a lab during specific hours by offering learning online where time and distance need not be a barrier. 

From virtual microscopes and wind tunnels on the OU’s Milton Keynes campus to observatories in Tenerife students have access to quality STEM facilities at the touch of a button. The OpenSTEM Labs grew out of initial grant funding from the Wolfson Foundation in 2013 followed by capital investment from the Higher Education Funding Council for England in 2015.

The initative has now been recognised by the highest national Honour awarded in UK further and higher education. The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are part of the UK’s national Honours system, recognising outstanding work by UK colleges and universities, which demonstrates excellence and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world.  

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said:

“By creating the OpenSTEM Labs as “an Internet of Laboratory Things” we have realised our vision for inclusive and accessible facilities for practical work in The Open University’s distance-learning setting. This award is a fitting tribute to the efforts of the team and we look forward to further developing OpenSTEM Labs in conjunction with our new OpenXR Studios, bringing the power of VR and AR to distance-learning.” 

Read more here.

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