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Getting started

Create free educational resources and courses for self-learners around the world

Quick start guide to create your course

  • 1Before you start

    Find, compile and create your content. Know your responsibilities as a course creator regarding copyright of materials you use. Choose to collaborate with colleagues to create your open materials

    As the course creator you retain ownership and are responsible for the content and copyright clearances. Be sure of the copyright restrictions of the content you are including in your space and remember to include acknowledgments.

    We would ask that where possible all content is released under a Creative Commons licence, e.g. cc BY-NC-SA 4.0 UK (there is a licence chooser when you set up your course and there is also a licence chooser when images are uploaded).

    You can keep your course in draft so that you can develop your open materials with your chosen collaborators, then publish your course when you are ready to share it.

    Expert Guidance

    For expert guidance and advice on creating an open online course, you can study the following free courses. You can dip into the relevant sections or you can choose to study the whole course.

    These free resources have been developed by The Open University and associated projects and partners. They hang together well as a toolkit for anyone considering writing an open course, reusing open content, being a course facilitator or who is considering becoming an open educational practitioner (a user / developer of free content). Some have badges for successful completion of the course

    • How to make an Open Online Course

      How to make an Open Online Course

      This guide to building an online course was written by the Free Learning team at The Open University and is based on our experiences of creating courses for OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create. If you complete the course and the quizzes you will receive a digital badge.

      Try this free course
    • Becoming an open educator

      Becoming an open educator

      This course was created by The Opening Educational Practices in Scotland Project team. It has a lot of useful information about open licences, remixing and reusing content. If you pass the quizzes you will receive a digital badge.

      Try this free course
    • Learning to (Re)Use Open Educational Resources

      Learning to (Re)Use Open Educational Resources

      This free online course focusses on reusing and remixing open educational resources.

      Try this free course
    • How to become an Online Facilitator

      How to become an Online Facilitator

      This course is for anybody who would like to become a facilitator on an open online course. You'll be introduced to concepts and ideas as how best to engage with learners, encourage conversation, and identify good practice for responding to learners online.

      Try this free course
    See less See more Before you start
  • 2Build your course

    You can create a course and add your content along with open content you are reusing and remixing in the Moodle editing interface. Use the Course Builder Guide to help you to create a great course.

    You need to register and be signed into OpenLearn Create to create a course on this platform.

    • Provide your course information

      Complete the metadata form to provide the essential information about your course. And start building!

    • Course builder guide

      Step by step instructions on moodle setup and to build a great course take a look at this useful guide.

    See less See more Build your course
  • 3Add features

    Add engaging activities for learners to enhance their learning, such as video, audio, forums, peer review workshops and quizzes. Learners can earn digital badges to show their achievements

    OpenLearn Create has a variety of tools and functions to support learners

    ExpandMoodle tools for layout and setup

    Layout tools

    You can use the following Moodle resource tools for layout:

    • Book (provides links between pages of the onscreen book)
    • Heading
    • Label
    • Page
    • Subpage
    • URL

    Images, files, video and audio resources

    You can upload the following resources:

    • File (for example Word document, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint)
    • Image (it is good practice to provide a long description for learners using screen readers)
    • Video (it is good practice to provide a transcript and captions/subtitles)
    • Audio (it is good practice to provide a transcript)

    You can provide links to the following resources hosted elsewhere:

    • Video (it is good practice to provide a transcript and captions/subtitles)
    • Audio (it is good practice to provide a transcript)

    Rating and Review

    There is a rating and review tool which allows you to collect star ratings and written reviews of your course from learners and teachers.

    Tags

    You can add tags (keywords) to your course. These will display in the site tag cloud.

    Accessibility

    It is recommended that you:

    • use HTML tables which can be read by a screen reader rather than an image of a data table
    • provide an alternative version of animated materials which may be inaccessible to learners with visual impairment
    • provide long descriptions of images
    • provide downloadable versions of your materials which can be used offline on different devices
    • provide transcripts of video and audio files for users with visual or audio impairments (also used by learners who prefer text to video or audio material)
    • provide videos with captions or subtitles

    Enrolment questions

    You can ask up to three optional free text questions from learners when they enrol if you use the OpenLearn Enrol questions function. This is useful if you are carrying out research and need to know a bit more about the learners than you would get from the basic data held by the system on each person who enrols (name and email address), however you must take responsibility for designing your questions with research ethics in mind and provide clear information about why you are asking these questions to encourage people to complete them appropriately.

    You need 'manager' permissions for your course (the default for those who have created a course is 'owner') so please email openlearnworks@open.ac.uk and remember to include the URL for your course in your message to request 'manager' role.

    ExpandMoodle learning activities

    Blog

    The blog activity module allows for creation of blogs within a course (these are separate from the core Moodle blog system). You can have course-wide blogs (everyone in the course posts to the same blog), group blogs, or individual blogs.

    Choice

    The choice activity module enables a teacher to ask a single question and offer a selection of possible responses.

    Forum

    ForumNG is a replacement for standard Moodle forum with most of the same features plus additional ones and a more dynamic user interface. NG stands for 'Next Generation'. A forum needs a moderator so if you want a forum you need to be prepared to moderate it.

    Glossary

    The glossary activity module enables participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary, or to collect and organise resources or information. When used interactively with learners it is used in time bound courses with a start and end date which are supported by teachers or tutors. A static glossary can also be set up which learners cannot amend.

    Wiki

    A wiki is a web-based system that lets users edit a set of linked pages. In Moodle, you would normally use a wiki when you want your students to create content. It is used in time bound courses with a start and end date which are supported by teachers or tutors.

    Lesson

    The lesson activity module enables a teacher to deliver content and/or practice activities in interesting and flexible ways. It is used in time bound courses with a start and end date which are supported by teachers or tutors. You need 'manager' permissions for your course (the default for those who have created a course is 'owner') so please email openlearnworks@open.ac.uk and remember to include the URL for your course in your message to request 'manager' role.

    ExpandOnline assessment tools in Moodle

    Two sections in How to make an Open Online Course cover Assessment for open online courses and How to build a quiz for open online assessment.

    Questionnaire

    The questionnaire module allows you to construct surveys using a variety of question types, for the purpose of gathering data from users.

    Quiz

    The quiz activity enables you to create quizzes comprising questions of various types, including multiple choice, matching, short-answer and numerical. Please refer to the general guidance on building and setting up quizzes and eAssessment with Moodle

    Tracking learner progress

    As a course owner or teacher you can see who has enrolled on your course and how they are progressing. You can see when they enrolled, grades they may have achieved for graded activities and badges they have earned. However you will not be able to see any other reports about them including whether they have completed the course. If you need this information you need to request 'manager' permissions for your course (the default for those who have created a course is 'owner') so please email openlearnworks@open.ac.uk and remember to include the URL for your course in your message to request 'manager' role.).

    Activity and Course completion

    Your course can have activity and course completion set up to track learners through the course, record their grades for activities such as quizzes and show when they have successfully completed all the required criteria.

    To set up activity and completion tracking you need to request 'manager' permissions for your course (the default for those who have created a course is 'owner') so please email openlearnworks@open.ac.uk and remember to include the URL for your course in your message to request 'manager' role.

    Workshop

    The workshop activity module enables the collection, review and peer assessment of students' work. It is used in time bound courses with a start and end date which are supported by teachers or tutors.

    ExpandDigital Badges

    Your course can have a digital badge or a series of digital badges (depending on your assessment requirements). These are issued automatically when the learner completes all the criteria for the badge. They are usually based on quiz completion and/or the learner visiting particular pages in the course which is set up via Activity and Course completion settings.

    OU short courses hosted on OpenLearn Works can have a badge but they must not carry the OU logo because only the OU Badged Open Courses hosted on OpenLearn may include the OU logo. OU badges for courses hosted on OpenLearn Works can have 'The Open University' on the badge if approved by your faculty and the Open Media Unit.

    To set up activity and completion tracking and digital badges you need to request 'manager' permissions for your course (the default for those who have created a course is 'owner') so please email openlearnworks@open.ac.uk and remember to include the URL for your course in your message to request 'manager' role.

    You will need to refer to the guidance document for setting up activity and course completion tracking, badges and statement of participation. You may also find the Badge Setup form and Completion tracking and Statement of Participation setup form useful to capture the information you need before you get started on the setup.

    You will need to arrange for your badge to be designed (220px x 220px).

    ExpandStatement of Participation

    Your course can have a Statement of Participation for learners showing their participation in the course. Activity and course completion tracking needs to be set up before the Statement of Participation. The Statement of Participation can have your logo on it and can display any digital badges associated with the course.

    To set up activity and completion tracking you need to request 'manager' permissions for your course (the default for those who have created a course is 'owner') so please email openlearnworks@open.ac.uk and remember to include the URL for your course in your message to request 'manager' role.

    You will need to refer to the guidance document for setting up activity and course completion tracking, badges and statement of participation. You may also find the Badge Setup form and Completion tracking and Statement of Participation setup form useful to capture the information you need before you get started on the setup.

    ExpandOU Structured content

    For a streamlined navigation through a course, OU Structured content enables content to be uploaded to your course via an advanced editing system. Tagging of headings, paragraphs, tables, lists, images, video and activities is done before rendering the content to the appropriate section of your course. This provides the following useful features:

    • Clear navigational links between pages of a course
    • Section and sub section headings helps ensure that pages are not too long (so reducing scrolling)
    • Self-assessment questions including recording short essay responses
    • Hide / reveal activities such as asking the learner to respond to a question then allowing them to reveal a discussion
    • Allows the system to generate alternative formats of the course material which are displayed at the start of each section. Learners can download the alternative formats onto their device and use them offline. See 'How can I make use of ALT formats' for further information.

    ALT formats include:

    • eBook and interactive eBook (epub)
    • IMS Common Cartridge
    • Kindle ebook
    • OU XML file and packages
    • RSS
    • Word document
    • HTML Zip file
    • PDF file
    • SCORM package (a package of the materials which can be rendered to another VLE platform)

    OU Structured content is available for OU only projects and projects produced in collaboration between the OU and external organisations. There is a cost involved in setting up your course(s) using OU Structured content. If you want your course(s) to be created using OU Structured content, please complete the project request form.

    Courses using OU Structured content will also use some Moodle tools, such as completion tracking, badges, statement of participation, quizzes, rating and review, tags, forums, course metadata, etc.

    ExpandAlternative formats

    OpenLearn Works offers alternative versions of course material which has been rendered to the site using OU Structured content. On course pages, if the course has been rendered in this way, you will find links to access these materials for each section of the course (they are usually displayed at the bottom of the first page of each section).

    If the course you are studying has been uploaded using OU structured content, you can download each section of the course to study offline. The alternative formats offered which will best support offline study include Word, PDF and eBook / Kindle versions of the materials. The other alternative formats (SCORM, RSS, IMS, HTML and XML) are useful to those who want to export the course to host on another learning management system.

    Although you can use the alternative formats offline for your own convenience, you do need to work through the online version of the course for full functionality (such as accessing links, using the audio and video materials and completing the quizzes). Please use the downloads as convenient tools for studying the materials when away from the internet and return to the online version to ensure you can complete all activities which may lead to earning a badge or a Statement of Participation.

    See 'How can I make use of ALT formats' for further information.

    The guidance for setting up these activities and resources can be found in the course builder guide.

    See less See more Add features
  • 4Make your course live

    Review your course with your peers, test quizzes, set up completion tracking and do final checks as you prepare to share your course with the world with free hosting on this platform.

    Before you publish your course you need to do some quality assurance checks to make sure that everything works as planned and that you are satisfied with the quality before you share it with everyone.

    • Ask your colleagues to collaborate and review your course for you when it is still in draft and feedback anything which needs amending. You can give them reviewer permissions so they can see the draft course as a learner.
    • Ensure you have checked all your sources of content and that the attribution and acknowledgements for third party materials is up to date.
    • If you have included quizzes in your course it is essential to check these are behaving the way you expect them to work, especially if they lead to a digital badge. You need to test them thoroughly including deliberately getting answers incorrect to see how the settings behave.
    • Set up the activity and completion tracking if you are including badges or Statement of Participation in your course.
    • Check your badge settings before you enable a badge and the Statement of
      Participation setup

    Making your course public

    All OpenLearn Create courses should be made available to the public once complete. When published they will be visible to both registered and non-registered users, and via search engines. If your course requires a closed cohort (password access for specific learners only), please contact openlearnworks@open.ac.uk for advice on how to set this up.

    See less See more Make your course live
  • 5Manage your course

    Support your learners and track their progress, update course content and manage the performance of your course using the course data for analysis.

    Support your learners

    You can support your learners and track their progress via the course administration menus.

    • You can see who has enrolled on your course via the Course administration OpenLearners menu.
    • If your course includes graded activities you can see what grades learners have achieved via the Course administration Grades menu.
    • For courses with fixed start and end dates which are supported by teachers you can manage groups, monitor forum, blog and glossary activities.

    Update course content

    You can update your course content once the course is live via the editing menus if you notice any errors in the content or if you need to include new content. Be careful about making substantial structural changes especially if you have set completion tracking to include visiting every page. You cannot update a badge details once it has been enabled.

    Manage course performance

    Manage the performance of your course using course data analysis via the various Moodle reports. The reports will enable you to monitor the progress of learners if you have set your course up to capture data about enrolled learners. You can reach these reports via the Course administration menu. The most useful reports are:

    • Logs
    • Activity Completion
    • Manage Badges
    • Statement of Participation (if you have set one up)
    • Enrol questions report (if you have set up additional questions to be asked at enrolment)

    You can reach reports about badges via the Course administration Badges menu.

    See less See more Manage your course

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