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The Open University launches Online Teaching microcredential to help educators ease hasty pivot to distance learning

The Open University (OU), a world leader in flexible distance learning, has developed an Online Teaching microcredential to equip those teaching in a higher or further education setting with the practical skills to successfully create online courses and teach adults online. The microcredential is open for enrolment now on leading social learning platform,, and teaching commences on the 8th June 2020. 

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, UNESCO has reported that over 91% of the world’s student population – a total of 1,576,021,818 learners across 188 countries and in all sectors – were affected by the closure of educational institutions. The result has been a hasty pivot to distance learning, leaving many teachers and universities feeling underprepared.

Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners, is a credit-bearing course that allows learners to explore various practical technologies for supporting online and distance learning in specific contexts, drawing on a range of experiences and research. The course covers online assessment, supporting diverse learners online, selecting learning technologies and designing accessible and engaging online activities. 

Alongside leading distance learning experts, learners will investigate the benefits and challenges of various approaches to online learning that will not only be of use during the coronavirus crisis, but will have long-term career value beyond lockdown.

The Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners microcredential, worth 15 academic UK credits at postgraduate level, is designed for anyone working in, or looking to work in, a higher education setting as a teacher, trainer, learning designer, educational technologist, head of department or institution leader. 

This course is part of The Open University’s ongoing support internationally to both learners and teachers in the Higher Education and Further Education sectors, to share its knowledge and expertise in the development of high quality online teaching, supported by academic research.

Finola Lang, Global Education Lead at FutureLearn, said:

“With more students learning online across the world than ever before, it is crucial that they are still able to receive a high quality education. This means going beyond the initial rush to migrate teaching and assessment material online, to delivering a more inclusive and inspiring learning experience. We are delighted to be working alongside The Open University, who have long been pioneers in distance learning, to create a microcredential for higher education teachers that equips them with effective strategies for implementing online learning that will help both with the response to the pandemic and in the longer term.”

Rebecca Ferguson, Senior Lecturer at The Open University and lead educator on the microcredential, said:

“In putting this course together, we are able to draw on the experience and expertise from within The Open University, which has pioneered distance learning for more than half a century. This course unites decades of successful experience with the latest research, as well as insights based on current practice around the world. We are delighted to help everyone who studies the course develop and apply the necessary skills in a way that is safe and accessible for a variety of learners.”


About FutureLearn

Here at FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform access to education. We do that by partnering with over a quarter of the world’s top universities to support over 12 million learners across the globe to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals. We’re a leading social learning platform founded in December 2012 by The Open University and are now jointly owned by The Open University in the UK and The SEEK Group. We use design, technology and partnerships to create enjoyable, credible and flexible short online courses and microcredentials, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In addition to top universities, we also partner with leading organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi and Health Education England (HEE), as well as being involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.

About The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 2 million students worldwide and has over 170,000 current students, including more than 7,000 overseas.

Over 76% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and three out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework, 2014), nearly three quarters (72%) of OU research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available, awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. 

Regarded as the UK’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units, as well as games, videos and academic articles, which have reached over 36 million people.

For further information please visit The Open University


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