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Help with signing in to OU systems

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 can be a code that is your initials followed by numbers and is in lowercase. 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. E.g. abc456
  • 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've not yet registered or you created a free online account before you registered, you can sign in with the email address you used to create the account. If you are a current student, don't try to create a free online account to get access to StudentHome; this will not work.

We're sorry, but current students can't opt for an email user name; it is only available to people who have created a free account and didn't register for the first time before November 2014.

Your Password

If you forget your password you can reset it via For data protection reasons, the Student Computing and Distribution Helpdesk aren't able to see your password so you'll need to reset it online.

If there's a problem with the link and you can't reset your password, contact the Student Computing and Distribution Helpdesk for further assistance.

Phone: +44 (0)1908 653972

Creating a free OU account to access OpenLearn

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.

Trouble signing in

  • Check the URL – Ensure that you're trying to log into an accessible OU page by checking that you have in your web browser's address bar (this is right at the top where it starts http://). Once on, select ‘Sign in’. Avoid using a search engine like Google to find the page.

    Signing in example
  • 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.
  • If you are experiencing issues where you are repeatedly being redirected to the logon screen, we recommend you clear your cookies and temporarily cached files in your web browser. You can find out how to do this in the 'How to change your cookie settings' on


We use cookies to make sure our websites work effectively and you'll not be able to sign in to secure areas of our website without them. More on OU cookies

Signing out

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 (see image below) and close the browser when you have finished.

Signing out example

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.

Contact the helpdesk

Phone: +44 (0) 1908 653972

Opening hours

  • 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.

Priority is given to telephone queries over other methods of contact, to minimize call waiting times. During busy periods your telephone call will be placed in a queue and your call will be answered when an adviser becomes available.

When you contact the Helpdesk it helps to have the following information to hand:

  • Your student or staff 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
  • Admin privileges
  • The full and exact text of any error messages or problems that your computer/software has generated.

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 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 number, your module code, and the tutor-marked assignments (TMA) number, all separated by a slash e.g. P1234567/B999/01.
  • Once you have 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.

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