• The Open University

The Online Educator: People and Pedagogy

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

24,715 enrolled on this course

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.


  • Week 1

    Disruption and design

    • Week 2

      Innovation and accessibility

      • Week 3

        Evidence and ethics

        • Week 4

          Who am I online?

          When would you like to start?

          Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

          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...

          • 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?

          Dr Leigh-Anne Perryman leads The Open University's Online and Distance Education programme. Her research explores the relationship between equity, social justice, online teaching and open pedagogies.

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

          Hi, I've worked at the OU since 2009.
          Currently in strategy and governance but taught for many years. I'm interested in issues of equality.

          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

          Ways to learn

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          Ways to learn

          Subscribe to Unlimited to access this course and thousands of other short courses or buy just this course for extra benefits. Or, join with limited access.

          Subscribe to Unlimited


          Automatically renews

          Access thousands of courses

          • Access to this course
          • Access to ALL eligible short courses
          • Learn at your own pace
          • Discuss your learning in comments
          • Digital certificate when you're eligible

          Buy this course


          One-off payment

          Unlock your expertise

          • Access to this course
          • Learn at your own pace
          • Discuss your learning in comments
          • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

          Join with limited access


          Try before you buy

          • Limited access to course content for 4 weeks

          Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

          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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