Frequently asked questions
Using OpenLearn for the first time
What is OpenLearn?
What is the minimum age for using OpenLearn?
There is no minimum age for general use of the site, including access to free courses, articles and other content. However, in order to create an account you must be aged 13 years or over. This is due to Data Protection law which requires parental consent for those under 13, which we are unable to record and process. We are aware of an issue when creating accounts for learners aged between 13 and 15 using the Safari web browser. We are working on and expect a fix for this browser very soon. All other major browsers are working as expected.
Can I get any Open University qualifications through OpenLearn?
I'm interested in enrolling on a free course. What does level mean?
Can I speak to a tutor?
What kind of device do I need to use OpenLearn?
The majority of our interactive content is HTML based which will work on these browsers, however, some older courses may contain Flash which your browser may not be compatible with.
Why isn’t the content working?
How do I sign in on the website using my OUCU?
Why can't I sign in?
You could also try clearing cookies from your browser or trying another browser to see if that helps.
Is it possible to save the video files to a disk or to my hard drive?
What is MyOpenLearn?
Why should I create an account?
How do I update my profile?
How do I delete my profile?
To request deletion of your OpenLearn profile please complete our contact form, choosing the ‘delete online account’ option under ‘subject of query’.
Your OpenLearn profile is linked to an underlying Open University account. If you only wish your OpenLearn profile to be deleted, please make that clear on the form – in this case be aware that your personal details will still exist in your Open University account. If you wish your details to be fully deleted please make sure you request both accounts are deleted.
Please be aware that deleting your OpenLearn profile will remove any badges you may have earned, and remove all records of your activity on OpenLearn. It is not reversible, and you will not be able to open a new account with the same email address in the future. You can read about how we handle your personal data in our privacy statement at www.open.ac.uk/privacy.
What are free OpenLearn courses?
There are nearly 1000 courses on OpenLearn, all of which are currently free to study.
How do I start a course?
Instructions for sharing your badge on LinkedIn
From 'My achievements' in your OpenLearn profile click on ‘share’ and choose LinkedIn.
LinkedIn presents a form:
- In Certification name enter name of course
- In Certification authority ‘The Open University’
- Tick ‘This certification does not expire’
- Go back to OpenLearn Profile tab, right click on Download and copy the link
- In LinkedIn paste in ‘Certification URL’
- Leave others blank and click 'Save'
On LinkedIn your badge then appears in Accomplishments. If you click on ‘See certificate’ it takes you to the badge details page on OpenLearn.
Find a badged OpenLearn course to study.
How do I get my Statement of participation?
Once you have enrolled on an OpenLearn course and have completed it, you will be able to access and download a free Open University Statement of participation as a PDF.
To gain a Statement of participation learners must:
a) Read the course Introduction and Guidance.
b) Be enrolled on the course.
c) Read every page of the course and submit any quizzes within it.
The statement of participation does not carry any formal credit towards a qualification.
How do I return to where I left off?
I’m enrolled but the course progress tracker is not updating. Why not?
You need to be signed in each time you study/return to the course in order for your progress to be tracked.
Where can I take my learning next?
Making your learning count module
To find out more about these two modules, head over to our 'Where to take your learning next' page.
Privacy and accessibility
Is OpenLearn an open source project?
What are 'cookies', and does OpenLearn make use of them on its website?
What information does OpenLearn collect from visitors to the website?
CaPRéT copy reuse tracking
For a short period, we used CaPRéT tracking to explore how users were copying information from the site for reuse elsewhere. This activity, which recorded no personal details, has been suspended as the resulting data was not being used.
Does OpenLearn share the information it receives?
Can I decide what information about myself is shared with other users?
What alternative formats are available?
Alternative formats of our course material are available on each OpenLearn course page.
You will find a prominent 'Download this course' box with links to access these materials.
To view these you will need appropriate software on your device, or experience of working with the format.
Formats that are available:
We also provide a range of formats which allow the course to be easily shared through other Learning Management Systems.
- OUXML Package
- OUXML File
- IMS Common cartridge
We cannot provide support for these formats, and they are made on an as-is basis.
For other content on OpenLearn, such as articles, you can print a copy by right clicking on the page and selecting 'print'. You can also download a PDF version by choosing the print destination to be 'Save as PDF'.
For audio and video materials on OpenLearn, we endeavour to provide transcripts and subtitles. Most of our video and audio has an accompanying transcript, although there may be older items that do not. Whilst we work through our older material to provide these, there may be some missing. If you would like to request a particular transcript that we are missing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also aim to provide accessible alternative formats for most of our online educational activities. Some older activities developed before 2018 (simulating online-experiments, interactive games and features, etc) are not fully accessible which means they do not run on all device types and players. It is difficult to offer alternative formats for those types of content. We are aware of this and are working through old content to make improvements.
If you are a registered OU student with a disability, and you would like to have alternative formats for OpenLearn educational interactives, please contact email@example.com.
Will OpenLearn be compliant with W3C standards and accessibility requirements?
On OpenLearn, to adapt the content to your needs or preferences you can:
- change the colours, contrasts levels, font style.
- resize text to 200% without impact on the functionality of the website.
- use assistive technology to
- list the headings, subheadings and links in the page and then jump to a location on the page.
- tab through the content, the current location will be indicated by a clear visual change and also reported by assistive technology
- use ‘Skip to content’ links to jump over repetitive information to the main content
- control the embedded media player to play audio and video materials
- use the provided transcripts or subtitles with most audio and video materials
- download OpenLearn courses in alternative formats (e.g. Word document, PDF, ePub, Kindle eBook)
We strive to exceed current accessibility standards. However, there are limitations to accessibility. We know some elements of the OpenLearn are not yet fully accessible.
- Older legacy and archived material might not meet current accessibility standards and might not be up to the standard or more recent material.
- Some third-party content not created by OpenLearn or the Open University, embedded or linked-to content for example, might not be fully compliant.
- Sites linked from OpenLearn pages may not be accessible
- Some activities (e.g. maps, charts, graphs, complex quizzes, interactive games and features) are not fully accessible.
- Some content uses specialised notations (e.g. mathematics, physics, chemistry, music) that are not fully accessible on the web.
For more information on this please see our Web Accessibility Statement.
Who owns the intellectual property in materials published on the OpenLearn website?
What can I do with OpenLearn materials?
This means that you must meet the following three requirements to use the materials:
- Your use is ‘non-commercial’.
- You always cite The Open University and retain the name of any original authors.
You ‘share-alike’; that is, make any original or derivative works available under the same terms as our licence to you. Derivative works could be redeposited inOpenLearn Create.
Many rights owners make their content available under a Creative Commons or other open licence and these will also be identified in the acknowledgements and may be re-used in accordance with the licence identified.
<link rel="canonical" href="[URL of content on OpenLearn]" />
What does OpenLearn mean by ‘non-commercial’ use of OpenLearn materials?
The Open University considers ‘non-commercial’ to include educational institutions, commercial companies or individuals making use of OpenLearn content on a cost-recovery basis.
- You may charge for learning experiences you provide using our materials on a cost recovery basis under the following conditions:
You may represent these materials in any format or medium, including photocopied or hard copy printouts/DVD/SD Card. You may make a charge for the recovery of your costs for printing/duplication.
- Where the OU open media content forms part of a course you are presenting you may charge for the recovery of your costs for value added services such as the provision of the additional or adapted content or tutoring/teaching and support.
- You may not charge for services in order to return a financial profit (through sales of the content or through placing advertising around them).
You may not charge for these services if you have not made significant adaptations of the materials or if our unadapted content forms the main basis of the course. Aggregation of our content does not comprise adaptation.
How do I cite OpenLearn content?
How do I contribute my own work to OpenLearn?
Can I use your materials to teach my class?
Educators are encouraged to use OpenLearn content in the classroom.
Can I link to OpenLearn from my website?
How do I unsubscribe from the OpenLearn newsletter?
Can I buy Open University books and TV programmes?
When we have more information about buying OU books and programmes, we'll update the answer to this question.
How do you deal with older content on OpenLearn?
How can I make a donation?
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.
Making a donation
You may also send your donation to:
Will enquiries to OpenLearn be answered?
Are there other initiatives like this at The Open University?
The Open University is a world leader in the development of open educational resources (OER) and several prominent projects have emerged in recent years reflecting our work in this groundbreaking new field of Education.
How can I learn what courses and content are coming up?
Can I find the most popular items on the OpenLearn site?
You can find the current top 10 most popular free courses, articles and interactives here. This is based on the number of visits to these pages on OpenLearn in the last 24 hours.