The Arab Open University (AOU) is a higher education institution delivering a blended system of learning. The University is mandated to serve local and regional communities by offering high-quality market-driven programmes of study and research at a Pan-Arab level.
The University, which is student-centred, promotes education for all and seeks to disseminate knowledge through carefully chosen undergraduate and graduate programmes delivered by highly qualified academics and supported by state-of-the-art technology.
The effort made by the AOU towards achieving its mission is reflected in its commitment to construct an institution that is 'open' in the sense of:
- Providing equal opportunity and respect for diversity to those seeking higher education;
- Adopting a flexible mode of learning in terms of space and time (but within the period stipulated by the AOU bylaws).
- Using most advanced educational technologies.
- Adapting and developing new programmes and teaching methods in response to market needs, technical developments and the interests of the University's teaching staff.
To achieve its goals and its mission, and to provide opportunities of higher education for as many applicants as possible, the AOU adopted a blended learning model in 2001. This was a pioneering step in the Arab region. AOU's blended model consists of:
- Face-to-face interaction - campus attendance.
- Online teaching, learning, and online resources.
The University's blended learning system strikes a balance between traditional learning and e-learning: both of which are based on the principle and practice of self-learning that places the student at the center of the educational process. The AOU has embraced this model with a view to assisting the learners to achieve the targeted learning outcomes through integrating face-to-face tutorials and e-learning that facilitate learning inside the campus or outside it. In particular, this learning system ensures students access to learning resources either on or off campus. These resources include:
- Printed and electronic learning content.
- Tutors available on campus and on the learning management system (LMS). This system helps students to communicate with their course tutors in all AOU branches whether through scheduled LMS tutorials or by physically meeting tutors in their offices during their office hours.
- Peer-to-Peer class/LMS discussion.
The AOU is considered as the house of expertise in this field in the Arab world since it is the first University that applied this system, which was subsequently adopted by other universities. The AOU's partnership with the Open University has the additional advantage of appointing external examiners for all courses, thus safeguarding the quality of learning and teaching at the University.