Online course

The Online Educator: People and Pedagogy

Design engaging courses, make your teaching more inclusive, navigate online research ethics and shape your digital identity.

Enhance your online teaching with strategies from educational technology experts

As e-learning becomes ever-more widespread, online educators are being required to design learning experiences that engage and meet the needs of very diverse learners.

This course, developed by The Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology, explores four myths: that learning design is about technology and content; that innovation and accessibility are incompatible; that researching online learning is an ethics-free zone, and that educators’ online identities are irrelevant.

Studying the course will help you enhance your practice through videos, quizzes and discussion with peers.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1 - Disruption and design

  • Current developments in online teaching

  • Navigating the hype about disruptive innovation

  • The relationship between content, technology, people and pedagogy in learning design

  • The challenges of meeting diverse students’ needs

  • The use of personas in creating relevant online courses

Week 2 - Innovation and accessibility

  • Myths about accessibility and digital innovation

  • Types of digital exclusion

  • Finding and evaluating accessibility guidelines

  • Applying accessibility guidelines to your teaching

Week 3 - Ethical evaluation of online teaching

  • Myths about researching and evaluating online teaching

  • Evidence and ethics

  • Navigating the hype around educational technology innovation

  • Evaluating research reports

  • Evaluating your own teaching innovations

  • Ethical considerations when researching online teaching

Week 4 - Who am I online?

  • Myths about online identity

  • The value to educators of a carefully constructed online identity

  • Evaluating your own online identity

  • Using Twitter to build an identity online

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
    This course started 11 February 2019

What will you achieve?

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

  • Develop personas to inform the online learning design process
  • Identify the ethics considerations involved in researching online teaching
  • Apply accessibility guidelines to online teaching contexts
  • Identify key accessibility issues related to online learning
  • Reflect on your exisiting digital identity and plan for its future development
  • Explore ways of shaping a digital identity as an online educator
  • Discuss the relationship between technology, content, people and pedagogy in online courses.

Who is the course for?

This course is suitable for anyone involved in online education or training, including teachers, trainers, course designers and researchers. While it will help to have a current practice setting to draw on, this is not essential.

What software or tools do you need?

To take part in this course you need an internet connection. No specific software is required.

Who will you learn with?

Leigh-Anne Perryman

I'm Qualification Director for The Open University's Masters in Online and Distance Education. I'm also an academic, researching the impact of openness, and gender equity, in the developing world.

Martin Weller

I am Professor of Educational Technology at the OU. My interests are in digital scholarship, open education, OER and MOOCs.

Mark Childs

I've been researching and teaching about educational technology for 20 years, particularly the role of digital identity and presence in online collaboration.

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 to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.

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  • Access to this course for 6 weeks

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  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible
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Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep the content of any of the courses you've gained a digital Certificate of Achievement on
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.
Introductory offer. Available until 11 May 2019. T&Cs apply.