Online Microcredential in Teaching

Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners

Learn the practical skills you need to create online courses successfully, and develop your ability to teach adults online.

Created by

The Open UniversityThe Open University

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Endorsed by

the Association for Learning Technology (ALT)the Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

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Get the skills to teach adults online and at a distance

UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) reports 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 in Spring 2020 by the closure of educational institutions as part of a broader ‘lockdown’ strategy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many institutions have had to rush to put their teaching online, at an unprecedented scale. Student assessment has also been affected, with many exams cancelled and others moved online, creating uncertainty for all involved.

Regardless of when the pandemic ends, this ‘online pivot’ in education is likely to become permanent as more and more learning opportunities move online. Knowing how to create engaging online courses for adults will be a key skill moving forward, now that distance and online learning are used so widely.

On this microcredential, you’ll discover how adults learn online – and at a distance – drawing on key theories. You’ll evaluate technologies for supporting online and distance learning in specific contexts, drawing on a range of experiences and research to learn how to design engaging and inspiring online courses successfully.

You’ll examine different online teaching and learning methods in terms of their appropriateness for specific settings and learners, and ways of ensuring your classes are inclusive and accessible.

Ultimately, you’ll explore some of the many possibilities offered by learning with technology, and investigate the benefits and challenges of approaches to online learning that will have long-term career value beyond lockdown and the coronavirus crisis.

This microcredential meets the standards set by the Common Microcredential Framework.

What skills will you learn?

  • Designing online learning activities
  • Designing online assessment
  • Supporting diverse learners online
  • Teaching online
  • Selecting learning technologies
  • Evaluating research evidence
  • Developing persuasive arguments
  • Designing online courses

What you will achieve

By the end of the microcredential, you’ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how adults learn online, and at a distance, drawing on key theories.
  • Identify and evaluate a range of online teaching and learning methods in terms of their appropriateness for specific settings and learners.
  • Identify and evaluate technologies for supporting online and distance learning in specific contexts, drawing on a range of experience and research accounts.
  • Design online teaching and learning activities, courses and assessment that meet diverse learners’ needs, drawing on a range of evidence to support your design decisions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how online teaching, learning and assessment can be made safe, equitable and accessible to diverse learners.

Are you eligible for this microcredential?

To join this microcredential you will ideally have:

  • A Bachelors degree or an equivalent level qualification
  • Experience of working in education
  • A strong interest in teaching and learning

Spaces are limited for this microcredential, and we recommend you register early to secure your place.

This microcredential is part of a planned suite of courses on aspects of online education. This course incorporates content from an existing OU module, Technology-enhanced Learning: Foundations and Futures (H880). If you have completed H880, or are currently studying it, please contact us before registering.

Is this microcredential right for you?

This microcredential has a global focus and the skills you’ll learn will be relevant for learners from around the world.

The microcredential would benefit anyone currently working or looking to work in universities, colleges or wider adult learning settings as a:

  • Teacher
  • Trainer
  • Learning designer
  • Educational technologist
  • Head of department
  • Institution leader

Due to Covid-19 and the urgent need to move teaching and learning online, The Open University is temporarily reducing the price of this microcredential from £675 to £475.


What happens before, during, and after your microcredential

  • Course

    From 19 Oct 2020

    Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners

    Learn how to design engaging and accessible online courses and ensure your online teaching is equitable and meets learners' needs.

    12 weeks

    13 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Introduction to the course
      • Welcome to the course
      • About the course
      • Introducing online and distance learning
      • Week 1 review
    • Week 2

      Online learners and educators
      • Learning contexts
      • Learning to learn
      • The 21st-century educator
      • Getting support
      • Week 2 review
    • Week 3

      Understanding how people learn online
      • Learning and teaching
      • Learning together
      • Ways of learning together
      • Group activity
      • Week 3 review
    • Week 4

      Designing for online learning
      • Designing learning
      • Planning courses and lessons
      • Meeting diverse learners' needs
      • Week 4 review
    • Week 5

      Online teaching and learning activities, strategies and techniques
      • Learning at a distance
      • Facing the challenges
      • Designing for engagement
      • Week 5 review
    • Week 6

      Working on your assessment
      • Reviewing the assessment tasks
      • Week 6 review
    • Week 7

      Open resources, pedagogies and practices
      • Openness and online learning
      • Opening up resources
      • Opening up practices
      • Week 7 review
    • Week 8

      Online and open assessment and feedback - Part 1
      • Assessment
      • Multiple-choice questions
      • Renewable assessment
      • Week 8 review
    • Week 9

      Online and open assessment and feedback - Part 2
      • Group assessment
      • Feedback
      • Assessment post-COVID-19
      • Week 9 review
    • Week 10

      Equitable, accessible and safe online teaching
      • Perspectives on equitable education
      • Care and the online educator
      • The risks of openness and social media
      • Accessibility and equitable education
      • Week 10 review
    • Week 11

      Educator as technologist and innovator
      • Selecting educational technologies
      • Exploring the options
      • Assistive technology
      • Week 11 review
    • Week 12

      Conclusion and preparing your assessment
      • Assessment overview
      • Important guidance about your assessment
      • Thank you and good luck!

What you will receive

15 UK credits at Postgraduate level from The Open University

You’ll receive an Open University certificate confirming that you have received 15 academic credits at postgraduate level 7. Credits are awarded on passing the final assessment. The assessment will require you to develop your own plan for taking teaching and learning online. The plan, accompanied by a reflective commentary, will form the summative assessment component of the course, for submission in the final week.

Find out how credits work and where you can use them in our FAQs.

What is a microcredential?

Microcredentials are designed to upskill you for work in rapidly-growing industries, without the time and cost commitment of a full degree. Your microcredential can stand alone as an independent credential, and some also offer academic credit to use towards a degree.

Learn online with expert instructors

Complete online courses led by experts over 12-16 weeks with a dedicated group of professionals.

Complete project-based assessments

Test your understanding with online tutor-marked assessments and exercises.

Earn a professional credential

Finish your learning and pass your assessments to gain an accredited credential.

Advance further in your career

Use your microcredential as evidence of your specialised skills and progress further in your industry.

Career-focused learning by 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

This microcredential is endorsed by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

The Association for Learning Technology is the leading professional body for Learning Technology in the UK.

Delivered by experts

I'm a senior lecturer at The Open University, focused on educational futures, learning analytics, MOOCs, innovating pedagogy & online social learning.

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.

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When would you like to start?

Enrolment for this microcredential is closed. We aim to run our microcredentials every few months. Speak to an enrolment advisor to find out more about this microcredential and future start dates.

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We can accept payments made by card (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) or PayPal via our online system.

You will have 14 days from the day the course starts to apply for a refund. You can find more information in our code of conduct

Microcredentials are designed to fit around your life and timezone.

There may be live events as part of your studies, but these will be recorded and can be watched afterwards if you aren’t online for the live broadcast.

No, microcredentials are designed to be taken anywhere in the world. You won’t need the right to study in the country where the university offering the microcredential is based.

Microcredentials are stand-alone products, designed to meet specific learner and employer needs and offer a credential in their own right. Those awarded by The Open University have a credit value at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, and this may in the future be used towards qualifications (for example, a Bachelor’s Degree, Diploma of Higher Education or Postgraduate Certificate) at The Open University, or potentially at another university (subject to the agreement of the receiving institution).

Want to know more? Read the microcredential FAQs, or contact us.