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Help with signing in
To sign in you’ll need your user name, your personal identifier (PI), or your email address.
- User name: Usernames are sent to you by email when you register for study. It's usually a code that is your initials followed by numbers and is in lowercase e.g. abc456. The numbers 1 and 0 (zero) are not used in the user name, so if you think that you see these they will in fact be the letters L or O in lower case.
- Personal Identifier (PI): Your personal identifier will be 8 characters in length and is also commonly on emails we send e.g. P1234567
- Email: If you created an online account with us before you registered, you can sign in with the email address you used to create the account. If you're a current student, don't try to create a free online account to get access to StudentHome; this will not work.
If you forget your password you can reset it via Reset your OU password. For data protection reasons, the Student Computing and Distribution Helpdesk can't see your password so you'll need to reset it online.
Your password must be between 8 and 12 characters long, include letters, at least 1 number and at least 1 capital letter. It can also include any of these special characters: !, $, %, ^, &, *, [, ], @, #, ?, +, -, _
If there's a problem with the link and you can't reset your password, contact the Student Computing Helpdesk for further assistance.
Further items to check
- Check the URL – ensure that you're trying to log into an accessible OU page by checking you have www.open.ac.uk in your web browser's address bar. Once on www.open.ac.uk, select ‘Sign in’. It's important to check the address is correct if you've used a search engine to find the page.
- Check that the caps lock isn't on.
- If you use numbers and enter them by the number pad check that the number lock is on.
- Clear the box and start again making sure you aren't pressing the shift key or other buttons accidently.
To avoid others being able to view your details, or being able to impersonate you, you should sign out when you have finished. Click on the Sign out link at the top of the page and close the browser when you've finished.
Your ac.uk email address
Microsoft Office 365 is available to all registered students. This will give you an academic email address in the format OUCU@ou.ac.uk where OUCU is your computer user name (for example firstname.lastname@example.org). If you've forgotten your OUCU, you'll find it on Your profile page in Contact details. For full details of what's included in the Office 365 package see Microsoft Office 365.
You may already have an email address which you set up using OU Google Apps (@my.open.ac.uk). You can continue to use your Google Apps email address until the end of March 2019, at which point OU Google Apps for Education, including your email account, will be decommissioned. To keep any emails from your Google Apps email account you may be able to transfer content to a personal consumer account via Google Takeout.
If you've used your Google Apps email address to set up a Microsoft Office 365 account, prior to the official roll out of Office 365 to OU students in March 2018, you won't be able to access Office 365 using that email address from the end of March 2019.
I can't sign in and I urgently need to submit my eTMA
These instructions must only be followed if you're unable to sign in to StudentHome and submit your assignment in the usual way.
- You need to attach your electronic-tutor-marked assignments (eTMA) file to an email and send it to email@example.com. Please note you should only submit your eTMA by email if you are unable to do so via the website.
- 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.
- Once you've submitted your TMA, you'll need to resolve your access problems by viewing the information above.
Email submission of your eTMA isn't immediate and you'll have to wait for confirmation that it's been received. If you don't get an email within 12 hours, you must assume that it hasn't been received and submit it again. For this reason, if you're submitting by email, you must leave plenty of time for your TMA to be received by the eTMA system.
Don't email your TMA directly to your tutor; they can't submit it on your behalf.
Creating an OU OpenLearn account
If you're studying a free OpenLearn course or are considering studying with us you can create an account using an email as a username. We can also give you your PI over the phone, contact the Student Computing and Distribution Helpdesk on (0)1908 653972. You can create an account by visiting Create a free Open University account. We cannot give you access to Microsoft Office 365 with an OpenLearn account.
Student Computing and Distribution Helpdesk
The Student Computing and Distribution 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 word processing packages like Microsoft Word or other components like anti-virus software.
Phone: +44 (0) 1908 653972
- 09:00 to 21:30, Monday to Friday *
- 09:00 to 17:00, Saturday and Sunday
- 10:00 to 16:00, Bank holidays (see exceptions below) **.
* The Helpdesk is closed for staff training 16:30 to 17:30, every Wednesday.
** The Helpdesk is closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday.
When you contact the Helpdesk it helps to have the following information to hand:
- Your student number (Personal Identifier)
- Your module code
- Operating System
- Operating System service packs
- Processor type & speed
- Amount of RAM (memory)
- Web Browser
- Internet service provider (ISP)
- Broadband connection
- Firewall installed
- Antivirus installed
- The full and exact text of any error messages or problems that your computer/software has generated.