OU launches online teaching microcredential for “hasty pivot” to distance learning


The Open University (OU), a world leader in flexible distance learning, has developed an Online Teaching microcredential to equip those teaching in higher or further education with the practical skills to successfully create online courses and teach adults online.

The microcredential is open for enrolment now on leading social learning platform, FutureLearn.com, and teaching commences on the 8th June 2020.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, UNESCO has reported that
over 91% of the world’s student population – a total of 1,576,021,818 learners
across 188 countries and in all sectors – were affected by the closure of
educational institutions. The result has been a hasty pivot to distance
learning, leaving many teachers and universities feeling underprepared.

Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners, is a credit-bearing course that allows learners to explore various practical technologies for supporting online and distance learning in specific contexts, drawing on a range of experiences and research. The course covers online assessment, supporting diverse learners online, selecting learning technologies and designing accessible and engaging online activities.

Course has long-term career value

Alongside leading distance learning experts, learners will
investigate the benefits and challenges of various approaches to online
learning that will not only be of use during the coronavirus crisis, but will
have long-term career value beyond lockdown.

The Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners microcredential, worth 15 academic UK credits at postgraduate level, is designed for anyone working in, or looking to work in, a higher education setting as a teacher, trainer, learning designer, educational technologist, head of department or institution leader.

This course is part of The Open University’s ongoing support internationally to both learners and teachers in the Higher Education and Further Education sectors, to share its knowledge and expertise in the development of high quality online teaching, supported by academic research.

The microcredential launches on the OU’s part-owned FutureLearn platform

Rebecca Ferguson,
Senior Lecturer at The Open University and lead educator on the

“In putting this course together, we are able to draw on the experience and expertise from within The Open University, which has pioneered distance learning for more than half a century. This course unites decades of successful experience with the latest research, as well as insights based on current practice around the world.

“We are delighted to help everyone who studies the course develop and apply the necessary skills in a way that is safe and accessible for a variety of learners.

“We can all appreciate the new challenges, distractions and difficulties people are facing at this time. Knowing how to create engaging online courses for adults and appreciating the differences between learning at a distance and learning face to face are now key skills for anyone involved in teaching.

On this course, you’ll learn not only from the educators and course materials but also from the varied experiences of your fellow students. Online and distance learning are definitely here to stay, and the skills associated with them will be invaluable as we move forward.”

Dr Ferguson said the course will enable teachers to develop effective strategies for implementing online learning and choosing the right technology for their setting. Teachers can find out how to support diverse learners online as well as learning how to design online and distance courses for all types of adult learner.

Finola Lang, Global
Education Lead at FutureLearn,

“With more students learning online across the world than
ever before, it is crucial that they are still able to receive a high quality
education. This means going beyond the initial rush to migrate teaching and
assessment material online, to delivering a more inclusive and inspiring
learning experience. We are delighted to be working alongside The Open
University, who have long been pioneers in distance learning, to create a
microcredential for higher education teachers that equips them with effective
strategies for implementing online learning that will help both with the
response to the pandemic and in the longer term.”

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