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Help with signing in to OU systems

Signing into your OU account

You can sign into your OU account with your password and one of the following credentials as your username:

  • the email address we use to communicate with you
  • OUCU (OU Computer Username) e.g., zx123456

If you are having problems signing in with your contact email address, try your OUCU instead.

Your OUCU is your OU Computer Username. It will be a combination of at least two lowercase letters followed by numbers, e.g., zx123456. If you're trying to login using a username that is only one single letter followed by numbers, this is your PI and it won't work.

You can no longer use your personal identifier (PI) (a single letter followed by numbers e.g. L1234567) as your username.

Finding your OUCU

If you use your OU Microsoft Office 365 account (and completed registration on your first OU module before 16 December 2020) then your OUCU is the first part of your email address e.g. zx123456@ou.ac.uk.

You'll also have been sent your OUCU in one of the emails you got from the OU confirming your registration on your first OU module.

When you're signed in you can find your OUCU in your Contact details on StudentHome.

If you can't find your OUCU you will need to contact the Computing Helpdesk to be able to sign in.

How we use your email addresses

Your Contact details on your OU account will now show two email addresses.

  1. Contact email - we will use this email address for all email correspondence we send to you.
  2. Reset password email address - this email address is only for when you need to reset your password.

Your contact email and your Reset password email can be the same email address, unless you use your OU Microsoft Office 365 email address (ending @ou.ac.uk) as your contact email. Then you will need to provide an alternative Reset password email address in your Contact details to be able to reset your password.

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Resetting your password

It's important you enter the correct email address to reset your password. If you've still got access to your OU account before resetting your password, you can check what your Reset password address is in your Contact details on StudentHome.

  • Use the reset password email address you've added as a reset password email address to your contact details on StudentHome.
  • If you haven't added a reset password email address to your contact details on StudentHome, use the email address you created your OU account with or the email address the OU uses to communicate with you.

To reset your password:

  • Click on the Reset your password link. 
  • On the reset password page enter your reset password email, see above.
  • Click on submit and an email will be sent to you. 
  • Open the email and click on the Reset my password link. 
  • Follow the instructions on the Reset Password page to create your new password. 
  • Press submit and you'll see a message on screen to say your password has been reset with a link to return to the sign in page.
  • You'll also receive a confirmation email.
  • Once you have reset your password, remember to update any saved usernames and passwords in your browser(s).
  • Follow the instructions above to sign in.

If you get locked out while trying to reset your password, wait 30 minutes and your account will unlock and you can try again.

Your password

Your password must be at least 8 characters long and be a combination of 3 of the following:

  • uppercase letter
  • lowercase letter
  • number
  • special character: ! $ % ^ & * [ ] @ # ? + - _

Make sure your password is strong and don't share it with anyone else. You'll find lots of helpful information about password and personal security on the Get Safe Online website.

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Not able to reset your password using the reset link?

If you’re unable to reset your password using the Reset your password link or if you didn't receive the reset password email, you can email the Computing Helpdesk at ou-computing-helpdesk@open.ac.uk.

To speed up how quickly we can respond to your email, include any three of the six options of information listed below in your email message.

  • OU Computer Username (OUCU)
  • Personal identifier (PI)
  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Home address including postcode

If you have already emailed us and received an acknowledgement don’t send another email, as we are dealing with all emails as quickly as possible and will be in touch as soon as we can.

You can also call the Computing Helpdesk on the number below and choose the option for ‘problems resetting your password’. Please be aware they are experiencing higher volumes of calls than usual, so waiting times are variable.

Phone: +44 (0) 1908 653972

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday 09:00 – 20:00
  • Friday – 09:00 – 17:00
  • Saturday 09:00 – 14:00.

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TMAs - if you can't submit online

If you’re unable to sign in to StudentHome and submit your TMA in the usual way, you can submit it by email.

  • You need to attach your TMA document file(s) to an email and send it to etma@open.ac.uk.
  • In the subject field you must put your Personal Identifier, your module code, and the tutor-marked assignments (TMA) number, all separated by a slash e.g. P1234567/B999/01.
  • You need to wait for confirmation it’s been received - if you haven’t received this within 12 hours you will need to submit it again.

You should only send your TMA by email if you're unable to submit it using the electronic TMA system in StudentHome. Once you’ve sent your TMA, you need to resolve your access problems by contacting the Computing Helpdesk.

If you have been unable to submit an iCMA or TMA, complete an online activity or feel that the quality of your assessed work has been impacted in some way by the sign in issues, please submit a special circumstances form once you can get back into your student account.

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Creating a strong password

  • Use a strong, separate password for each of your online accounts.
  • To create a strong password, simply choose three random words. It’s easier to remember if you try to visualise the words together.
  • The longer the password is, the harder it is for criminals to guess or break.

Here are some examples of phrases to give you an idea of what to use. However, don’t use these as they are well known examples.

  • SPlD$Rm4n – a variation of Spiderman, with letters, numbers, upper and lower case.
  • A line of a song that other people would not associate with you.
  • Pick a phrase known to you, for example 'Tramps like us, baby we were born to run'" and take the first character from each word to get 'tlu,bwwbTr'.

Don’t use the following as passwords

  • Your username, actual name, or business name.
  • Family members’ or pets’ names.
  • Your or family birthdays.
  • Favourite football or F1 team or other words easy to work out with a little background knowledge.
  • The word ‘password’.
  • Numerical sequences.
  • A single commonplace dictionary word, which could be cracked by common hacking programs.
  • When choosing numerical passcodes or PINs, do not use ascending or descending numbers (for example 4321 or 12345), duplicated numbers (such as 1111) or easily recognisable keypad patterns (such as 14789 or 2580).

Looking after your passwords

  • Never disclose your passwords to anyone else.
  • If you think that someone else knows your password, change it immediately.
  • Don't enter your password when others can see what you are typing.
  • The routine changing of passwords is not recommended, unless the accounts to which they apply have been hacked, in which case they should be changed immediately.
  • Use a different password for every website, as if you use only one password, a criminal simply has to break that one to gain access to everything.
  • Don’t recycle passwords (for example password2, password3).
  • If you must write passwords down to remember them, encrypt them in a way that is familiar to you but makes them indecipherable by others.
  • An alternative to writing down passwords is to use an online password vault or safe.
  • Do not send your password by email. The OU will never ask you to do this.
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Your OU email address

When you completed registration on your first module with the OU you’ll have been sent an email about general study resources, which included your OU email address ending @ou.ac.uk.

You can find what your OU email address is on your Contact details on StudentHome.

You’ll need your OU email address ending @ou.ac.uk and your OU password to sign in to your free Microsoft Office 365 account to access your emails. Once signed in, click on Outlook to open your inbox in your browser and see your emails.

You can find more details about your OU email address and signing in at Your OU email address.

Microsoft Office 365

As a registered student, you have free access to Microsoft Office 365 for the duration of your studies and for two years after you've finished.

To sign in you'll need your OU email address (ending @ou.ac.uk) as your username and your OU password. You can find what your OU email address is on your Contact details on StudentHome.

Take care to enter the email address correctly ending with ou.ac.uk - not open.ac.uk or my.open.ac.uk which is a common mistake.

It's important to note that if you already have an Office 365 account through work or a personal subscription and you're currently signed in, you'll need to sign out before signing in again to access your OU account.

For full details of what's included in the Office 365 package and help with signing in, see Microsoft Office 365.

Google Apps for Education

Google Apps for Education has been decommissioned and OU email addresses in the format oucu@my.open.ac.uk are no longer accessible. We've produced some FAQs to help answer some of the questions you may have which can be viewed at Microsoft Office 365 FAQs.

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Signing in from outside of the UK

You may find problems in signing into OU websites from some locations. The locations we are aware of are:

  • Crimea Region / Sevastopol
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Syria

If you’re travelling to one of these locations, or anywhere where your internet connection might not be reliable, you can download your module materials in advance by going to the ‘Resources’ tab on your module website.

In some of these locations students use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to sign in to OU websites. If you're planning to study via a VPN, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of any legal requirements or restrictions in that location.

If you're resident in one of these locations and are unable to sign in to OU websites because the use of a VPN is prohibited or restricted by law, please contact your Student Support Team.

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OpenLearn accounts

To sign in, your username will be the email account you used to create your OpenLearn account.

If there is a problem with the OpenLearn site see OpenLearn IT issues.

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Signing in to OpportunityHub

If you are a current student or graduated or completed your study within the last three years, you can log in to OpportunityHub with your OU Microsoft Office 365 sign in details. This will be your OU email address ending @ou.ac.uk as your username and your usual OU password.

If you haven’t used your OU Microsoft Office 365 account before see Microsoft Office 365.

You’ll have the option to log in as “Current Student and Staff” or “Graduate”. Please read the instructions below to choose the right option for you.

Which log in option should you use?

If you’re a new student and waiting for your module to start, your access will begin five days after the start of your module.

If you’re a current student, select Current Student and Staff.

If you graduated or completed your study within the last three years and have previously used OpportunityHub, select Current student and Staff. Your account will be converted into a Graduate account and you'll be prompted to change your password.

If you graduated or completed your study within the last three years and have NOT used OpportunityHub before, select New user and complete the form. You will need to wait for up to three working days for your registration to be approved. We’ll send a confirmation email once completed.

If you're having problems accessing OpportunityHub, please contact the Computing Helpdesk.

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Signing in to Abintegro

If you are a current OU student, recent graduate or alumni, you can sign in to Abintegro resources using your OU Microsoft Office 365 sign in details (your OU email address ending in @ou.ac.uk and the password you use to sign in to the OU).

If you haven’t used your OU Microsoft Office 365 account before see Microsoft Office 365.

If you’re a new student you will need to wait for five days after your module has started before accessing Abintegro.

If you graduated or completed your study within the last three years and do not have an OU Microsoft Office 365 account, but would like to access Abintegro resources, complete a request a graduate account form. Please allow 5-7 working days for a response.

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The Computing Helpdesk

The Computing Helpdesk assists students and Associate Lecturers with technical queries relating to the OU’s computing resources. We can't help with general IT questions about using packages like Microsoft Word or other components like anti-virus software.

Please be aware they are experiencing higher volumes of calls than usual, so waiting times are variable.
Phone: +44 (0) 1908 653972
Email: ou-computing-helpdesk@open.ac.uk

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday 09:00 – 20:00
  • Friday – 09:00 – 17:00
  • Saturday 09:00 – 14:00.

If you’re experiencing issues with any of our online services outside of our usual OU Computing Helpdesk hours, we would advise you to check our IT systems status page to see if we're aware of the issue you’re experiencing. If it isn’t on our IT systems status page, please email the OU Computing Helpdesk to make us aware of the problem.

If there are technical problems that affect your ability to study or submit assignments please be assured that when we are open we will assess the situation and message affected students with advice.

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Last updated 1 month ago