Convenient material access

Allowing students to access OU media and learning content through the normal channels that students use every day, such as, Kindle, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.

Media consumption


Making OU learning content available in apps that students already use will reduce the time and effort required to manage their study and make our content more accessible.

The Opportunity

When we discuss the potential for smart technology, we have a tendency to assume that we will need to build something or create a new service to take advantage. The OU has previously attempted to build new services which are very similar to already existing technology, and spending much time and resource in doing so. However, we've been most successful when taking advantage of existing services, such as iTunesU and the partnership with the BBC to deliver learning content.

The purpose of this strand is to establish where we can take advantage of already existing services and technology to more quickly deliver benefits to students, utilising services already commercially available and which they are familiar with, while saving time and resource that can be better used elsewhere.

We will start by examining a the potential to use a set of services, including Kindle, Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and Google Play, to see if it is possible to deliver some of our OER books, audio, and video content within those services and what the impact is on the experience.

The Benefits

There are various possible benefits to this work, including:

  • Reduced frustration for student by reducing the need to learn new systems and allowing use of preferred apps
  • Utilising features in the apps that we do not yet offer, e.g. advanced bookmarking, synced audio and text playback
  • Quicker and more efficient delivery of media content, in addition to improved offline management
  • Reduced load on OU servers and backend services
  • Better cataloguing, archiving, and tagging of content for student benefit
  • Making content available on other device types than currently available, e.g. smart speaker, including improved playback controls
  • Improved availability and exposure of OU content


Updates will be made available here as the work progresses.


Smart home


User Experience Designer

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What is the Smart Tech project for?

The Smart Tech project was born out of the need to understand more fully the potential benefits of smart device usage on student success and to assess whether there are changes that we can make to the production and delivery of learning materials to assist in this aim.

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