• 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.

21,068 enrolled on this course

The Online Educator: People and Pedagogy

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?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

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?

I lead The Open University’s Online and Distance Education programme. My research specialisms include the impact of open pedagogies on learning and wellbeing, and gender equity in the developing world

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

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.

  • Established1969
  • LocationMilton Keynes, UK
  • World rankingTop 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • 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

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