De Montfort University has been involved in open education projects for several years. More details can be found on the About Open Education page. But I thought it would be nice to start this new website off with some information about De Montfort for people who aren’t familiar with the university. When I tell friends we are based in the heart of historic Leicester surrounded by some amazing architecture they are often surprised.
Trinity House is the oldest building on campus and was originally the Trinity Hospital built in the 1300’s. The university senior executive is now housed there and in the summer university staff and conference guests can enjoy access to the croquet lawn and herb garden. They might even meet the resident DMU cat.
Adjacent to Trinity House are the Castle Gardens which was the location of Leicester Castle. The Southern Gateway still stands to the right of Trinity House, and walking through the arch takes you through to St Mary De Castro church.
Looking back through the arch and walking back onto campus, the first building on the right you will see is the Hawthorn Building, home to part of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. This building has itself an interesting history. The Hawthorn Building dates to Victorian times and had some later additions to its structure. It was in fact built on another church – St Mary of the Annunciation and part of one wall is visible in the foyer. It is reputed that a Monk prowls the corridors of the building, but few have seen him.
The impressive steps of the East Entrance lead up to art deco turnstiles. These provide access to what was originally a stage and performance area. This is now our largest lecture theatre with seating for around 200 people. I was told when I first joined the university that artists like Jimmy Hendrix performed here in the 1960s, but I have never found any evidence of this but would certainly be interested to find out.
A more detailed history of the university can be found on our website –
De Montfort continues to evolve as an institution. Now all of its schools are on the one City Campus with the School of Nursing recently moving into the newly refurbished Edith Murphy Building (2011). The next advancement will be the formation of a Centre of Open Education in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences to be launched in 2012. This also coincides with the 20th anniversary of De Montfort changing from the former Leicester Polytechnic when it was awarded university status in 1992. The new Open Education Centre will bring together staff and students with an interest in open education resources, be a point for sharing ideas on how to advance open practice for the benefit of everyone. We also have a track record of obtaining research funding and hope to recruit more post-graduate students to the centre to explore the educational benefits and wider impacts on society that the concept of a more open education has to offer.