Frequently asked questions

Below are the frequently asked questions about OpenLearn Create.

About OpenLearn Create

ExpandWhat is OpenLearn Create?

OpenLearn Create is an innovative leading open educational platform where individuals and organisations can publish their open content, open courses and resources. It is a Moodle platform and has tools for collaboration, reuse and remixing. OpenLearn Create is part of OpenLearn which is where the OU hosts specially designed open content, giving all the opportunity to browse, reuse and learn across a world of open learning.

While OpenLearn hosts only OU content, the projects, content, courses and resources within OpenLearn Create come from a range of providers, not only The Open University, giving you access to rich and varied content that you can study, reuse and remix.

OpenLearn Create provides a space for those working with or interested in OERs, where you can learn how to create OERs and connect and collaborate with others in the community - you can get started now.

We launched OpenLearn and LabSpace (now OpenLearn Create) in October 2006 thanks to a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Our shared vision was free online education, open to anyone, anywhere in the world. OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create is the result and we have since reached over 23 million people.

ExpandWhy should I register?

You will get the most from OpenLearn Create if you register for an OU account (registration is free). Registering will give you full access to a range of features that are not available to guests, such as the ability to create your own projects and enrolling on projects and courses within OpenLearn Create. In your My Units you will be able to access your projects you are working or enrolled on. You can read about how we handle your personal data in our Privacy statement.

ExpandWhat is My Units and how do I update my profile?

My units contains your projects and your profile. It contains the information about yourself that you have provided, the free projects you have enrolled on, and those projects that you are working on. To edit your profile, click on your name which is displayed at the top right of each page once you have logged in.  If you need to change your name or email address in your OU registered account please contact Student Computing and Distribution Helpdesk.

ExpandCan I get any qualifications through OpenLearn Create?

It's not possible to gain any formal qualifications through OpenLearn Create. You will need to register for an Open University course if you want to become a student and have the support of a tutor, sit examinations and gain qualifications. For more information visit the Study at the OU section of The Open University's website to view the online prospectus.

ExpandWhat are tags and tag clouds?

Tags are words or terms that we have assigned to OpenLearn Create content. Tags act as links enabling users to classify, search and find content based on keywords that are meaningful to them.

Sets of tags are combined in to tag clouds, allowing you to see the most popular keywords associated with content from a particular subject. Each subject, for example 'Languages', will have its own dedicated tag cloud.

If you are creating a course on OpenLearn Create you can add tags to your course by: turn editing on - add block - tags.

ExpandDownloading alternative formats

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.

Technical questions

ExpandWhat kind of computer do I need to use OpenLearn Create?

OpenLearn Create is optimised to be enjoyed by users on the current full versions of Firefox, Safari and Chrome on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Mac Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion, and Internet Explorer 9 and 10 on Windows 7 and 8.

Older browsers will display most of the content normally, but some features won't work. In particular, Windows users who use Internet Explorer 8 are strongly advised to upgrade their browser, or use an alternative, to get the full value of OpenLearn Create content.

In addition, we aim to provide the best possible experience for users of iPads, Android Tablets and Surface, but cannot guarantee that all features will work as intended on these devices.

Furthermore, some content on the site - in particular older interactive features and audio-visual content - was optimised for browsers at the time these were originally published and users may experience some compatibility issues. Most notably, many interactives use Flash, which is not supported widely on portable devices.

ExpandWhy can't I log in?

There could be many reasons but the most probable is that you have simply forgotten your password, are trying the wrong one or are entering it incorrectly. Does your username or password contain a mixture of upper or lower case letters? It should be entered exactly.

ExpandWhat technology is used to publish the OpenLearn Create website?

The OpenLearn Create website has been developed using Moodle technologies. Moodle is an open source learning platform.

The OpenLearn website has been developed using both Drupal and Moodle technologies to enable online learning.

For more information visit Drupal and Moodle

ExpandIs OpenLearn Create an open source project?

OpenLearn Create is committed to open systems and will share its approach with those who may wish to launch similar efforts. OpenLearn Create is best described as an open educational resources (OER) project. This means that we are using many of the principles of the open source software movement and applying it to materials and tools that help people learn. Most of the educational content hosted on this site can be reused according to the Creative Commons licensing that we have adopted and where this logo is seen:

The software tools that we have developed are also being released as open source to make them available for reuse and for others to contribute to the development. Finally, we are trying to use as many open source components in our work as possible, in particular building the main learning environments on the open source Moodle system. We do need to use some proprietary software behind the scenes to fit with how The Open University works.

ExpandHow do I change the font size on OpenLearn Create?

The OpenLearn Create website has been designed so that text can be resized using the standard tools in your browser. For example in Internet Explorer and Firefox this is achieved using the View menu and increasing the text size. If you use Google Chrome, you can adjust the font size in 'Settings' > 'Advanced Settings' > 'Web content'.

ExpandWill OpenLearn Create be compliant with W3C standards and accessibility requirements?

The Open University aims to make its content on OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create as accessible as possible. We continue to work towards full compliance with W3C standards for all aspects of the site, including providing accessible versions of our most interactive content.

OpenLearn Create has been reviewed by accessibility experts and tested using a range of different assistive technologies and computer settings. While we recognise there are areas that can and will be improved based on recommendations from this review and otherwise identified, core aspects of the site are already provided in a way which meets the needs of a wide variety of users. Users with screenreaders should have no difficulty accessing the text-based content. Users who require specific Windows or browser settings should not have any difficulties with the site, nor should users with screen magnifiers. Video and audio materials are provided in such a way that they can be played through a range of different media players or downloaded and have textual descriptions or transcripts to accompany them. As far as possible, where material is provided as figures/images, we have included textual descriptions of them, but this does not yet cover every diagram or formula.

For more information on this please see our website accessibility statement.

Please note: all content released by The Open University will conform to the standards above, however The Open University does not take responsibility for content published on OpenLearn Create by Third Party Providers who may not work to the same accessibility standards.

ExpandHow can I make use of alternative formats?

OpenLearn Create 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).

To view these you will need appropriate software on your device, or experience of working with the format.

  • ePub - this will work on tablets and devices which have eReaders built-in; if you are using a desktop machine you may need to find an ePub reader. A list of these can be found at the tucows website
  • Kindle - Requires an Amazon Kindle, or software. For tablets, you should be able to download free versions from your app store; desktop users can use a web-based version
  • Word - this will open in most word processing software, including Microsoft Office and Google Docs. Microsoft offers a number of free Word readers via its website.
  • PDF - Most devices and desktop machines will come with a PDF reader bundled in the operating system. Adobe offer a range of up-to-date free downloads.

We also provide a range of formats which allow the course to be easily shared through other Learning Management Systems. We cannot provide support for these formats, and they are made available on an as-is basis. If you would like to discuss a supported service to use these formats, please contact The Open University. These formats are listed below:

ExpandWhat information does OpenLearn Create collect from visitors to the website?

At OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create we want to understand about your use of our websites and how we can help you.

We do this in three ways:

  • by logging general activity on the sites such as the time each visitor spends on the site and whether they have also used some other sites;
  • by tracking the use of content for learning;
  • and by asking visitors whether they are willing to be involved in research.

You can read about how we handle your personal data in our Privacy statement

ExpandWhat are 'cookies', and does OpenLearn Create make use of them on its website?

Cookies are small data files on your hard drive or browser. Cookies cannot read your hard disk or make any information collected by use of a cookie available to a third party. A cookie can only be read by the organisation that installs it. OpenLearn Create cookies store information about your use of the website, in particular we use these so that we can recognise that you have visited the site before. This information is used for statistical analysis including to assess the usefulness of our site and the effectiveness of our navigational structure, and to identify trends in educational needs and demands. You can read more about this in our cookie policy.

ExpandDoes OpenLearn Create share the information it receives?

We do not release this information to third parties. Understanding how our users interact with OpenLearn Create helps us to improve the service we offer. If you prefer not to share anonymous information on your use of the site, you can disable cookies from your browser and delete all cookies currently stored on your computer. You do not need to have cookies turned on to use or navigate through many parts of our website.

ExpandHow do I register on the website using my OUCU?

If you already have an OUCU you only need to enter it when registering on OpenLearn Create, followed by your password. No other information is needed.

ExpandCan I decide what information about myself is shared with other users?

If you register on OpenLearn Create, other users will be able to see your name, location and study interests. You can choose whether or not other users can see your email address by editing your profile. To edit your profile, click on your name which is displayed at the top right of each page once you have logged in.  If you need to change your name or email address in your OU registered account please contact Student Computing and Distribution Helpdesk.


ExpandHow can I become a partner and make a donation?

We are seeking partners who wish to help us bring learning experiences to people, or funders/donors seeking to support the educationally under served. Help us develop our free OpenLearn Create platform further to support course creators and learners alike.

In developing OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create, The Open University is very grateful for the generous support of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The philosophy of open content mirrors exactly The Open University's founding principles of widening access to high quality educational opportunities. Through OpenLearn, the University expects to contribute significantly to the development of both the quality and reach of open educational resources delivery at an international level.

The generosity of our users, supporters and partners will help our dedicated staff to continue the academic, pedagogic, technological and research activities that support OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create.

Making a donation

You can make your donation to The Open University using our safe and secure online form. Please quote OpenLearn or OpenLearn Create in the 'What prompted you to donate?' box. Your gift - whatever the amount - will enable us to continue to fulfil our mission.

You may also send your donation to:

The Open University Development Office
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Tel: 01908 653786


If you can't find the answer that you are looking for, please contact us at and we will try to respond as soon as possible.

ExpandWill enquiries to OpenLearn Create be answered?

If you can't find the answer that you are looking for in our Help and Support area or are interested in setting up a project on OpenLearn Create, please contact us at and we will try to respond as soon as possible.

If you are interested in finding out more about The Open University you can use the online contact form

ExpandReport a concern

If you see any content on OpenLearn Create which you believe contravenes the Terms & Conditions of the site, infringes intellectual property rights or UK law, or have another concern about the site, please contact us at and we will respond as soon as possible.  Please include the following information in your email: a statement telling us details about the content or issue of concern, the title of content and the full URL to access that content, your full name, address, email address and telephone number.

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