Contact FutureLearn for Support Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Online course

Get Started with Online Learning

This free online course will explain how you can study online without putting the rest of your life on hold.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Statement of Participation when you complete over half the course

Find out more

Get Started with Online Learning

Why join the course?

The internet is playing a bigger role in our lives, as we buy our groceries, manage our finances, share social experiences and otherwise live our lives online. But how many of us have considered studying online?

In this free online course, you will find out what online learning is and what it can offer you. You’ll discover the skills required for online study and evaluate your own study skillset. You’ll also examine how students form online communities and how they benefit from flexible study arrangements while still being supported by dedicated tutors.

Studying online takes advantage of technology to simulate or improve upon traditional methods of teaching. This course draws on the expertise of The Open University to introduce you to some of these teaching methods, including looking at two periods of European history, teaching chemistry through the online OpenScience Laboratory and using free apps to practise writing Chinese characters.

Studying at a campus university isn’t for everyone. If you have caring responsibilities, want to re-skill to change careers or develop professionally, or simply wish to earn while you learn, then online study may be for you.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsHEIDI 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 secondsThis 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 secondsTry out this short course to see if studying online could be the answer for you.

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

Who is the course for?

Who will you learn with?

Laura Hills

As part of the team at the Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships at The Open University, I have an interest in widening access to education and how learning can best be supported.

Who developed the course?

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Statement of Participation when you complete over half the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $59 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

Image access mobile

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Statement of Participation

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Statement of Participation when you complete over half the course.

Image statement mobile

  • Prove your hard work when applying to jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your commitment to learning
  • Help your CV or LinkedIn profile stand out

To receive a Statement of Participation you need to mark 50% of the steps on the course as complete.

Upgrade


Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs