• The Open University

How to Learn Online: Getting Started

Explore the benefits of online learning and discover how to successfully learn online.

52,330 enrolled on this course

Girl enjoying learning on a tablet computer
  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Embrace the opportunities that online learning offers

Since Covid-19, there has been an increased interest and in some cases, a necessity to move learning online.

This 2-week course draws on the expertise of The Open University – a global leader in online learning. If you want to become a pro at studying online, try this course and explore the wide-ranging benefits for online learners.

Discover the benefits of online study and flexible learning

Online learning takes advantage of technology to simulate or improve upon traditional methods of teaching. You’ll be introduced to some of these teaching methods, including using free apps to practise writing Chinese characters.

Take the chance to delve deeper into elements of formal online learning, and find out how online assessment and teaching is carried out.

Form an online community to aid your learning

Building on what you learnt in the previous week, you’ll have the opportunity to try out some innovations in teaching and learning made possible with online learning.

Being able to form online communities is a huge benefit of learning online, so you’ll consider how students at online universities can interact with each other to support their studies.

You’ll also get the chance to focus on the relationship between study and your career, and discover what to do if you would like to register formally for online study.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds HEIDI MCCAFFERTY: I’m Heidi McCafferty. I did my first degree with the Open University, and now I’m doing a master’s there. In this two-week course we’ll be looking at what it means to study online, how you go about it, the advantages, and also the challenges and how to meet them. It’ll give you a bit of a taster of studying online, and look at some of the questions that prospective students often ask, such as how much study time is involved, what if I’m struggling with an essay, what if my study skills are rusty, or school didn’t work well for me?

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds This course draws on the expertise of the Open University to show you how it’s possible to get a degree, or a certificate, without becoming a full time student at a campus university. There are lots of reasons why it suited me better to study online. For a start, it means you can fit studying in around the parts of your life. So if you’ve begun your career, have caring responsibilities, or prefer to stay at home, then this can also work well for you. You can study at a time and a place to suit you, with support from a dedicated tutor. And you can get support from lots of other students through special social media forums.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds Try out this short course to see if studying online could be the answer for you.

What topics will you cover?

What activities you already carry out online

Explore how you already learn online informally

Getting started with online learning

Carry out a small research task where you consider the validity of internet sources

The technological innovations which will support your online learning how you can manage your own study and get support from tutors and other students

How you can plan for your long-term study and career goals.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore and understand the key aspects of online learning
  • Identify and recognise the main differences between online and campus-based university learning
  • Assess how studying online can match personal interests and preferences, and help to develop skills – preparing you for future online study

Who is the course for?

If you are considering, or new to online learning, this short course offers you the perfect starting point to prepare you for your online learning journey.

Who will you learn with?

I am a creative and innovative education practitioner who values learning and seeks opportunities to learn, develop and grow and support others.

Open University Course Developer. Instructional Design and Media Production at Chemistry Communications. Interested in open education, languages, data viz, design. Former Communications Lecturer.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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