The sudden closure of universities and schools across the globe has created a demand in delivering educational content online. The Open University has long been a front-runner in distance learning, specifically online. Did you also know that we provide FREE content on OpenLearn, written by Open University academics? We offer a variety of FREE courses, interactives, academic insights and animations on a range of subjects.
We also have some comprehensive courses to show you how to make your own open educational resources. Check out the courses below:
FREE course: Take your teaching online
In this free course, Take your teaching online, you will gain knowledge fundamental to delivering effective teaching online. You will hear about the experiences of real educators, be introduced to cutting edge research, and understand the ideas and tools that shape how we teach and learn online. You will also learn useful methods that will guide you to test out these new ideas in your own practice.Learn moreTake your teaching online
Level: 2 Intermediate
FREE courses on open educational resources
Are you interested in creating your own open educational resources? This free course, Creating open educational resources, will help you to write a learning course and provide you with links to various resources for open-learning materials. You will learn about the different purposes of self-instruction and receive advice about the techniques and strategies to help the learner.Learn moreCreating open educational resources
Level: 1 Introductory
In this free course, An introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER), you will look at some institutional OER initiatives. These will include MIT's open courseware, Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative and The Open University's OpenLearn. You will get a flavour of how different OER initiatives design and present the content for their audiences. This OpenLearn course will also give you the opportunity to find, discuss and redesign some OER material. You can choose your audience for the material and redesign it to fit their needs.Learn moreAn introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER)
Level: 3 Advanced
There are many different 'flavours' or interpretations of what openness means in education. This free course, Open education, is an example of a massive open online course (MOOC) and spans seven weeks. Like all the free materials on OpenLearn, this course is open to the wider world but, uniquely, it also forms part of the module for students who are studying the Open University course H817 Openness and innovation in elearning.Learn moreOpen education
Level: 3 Advanced
This free course, Networked practitioner: open or closed practice?, starts a debate to support the decision-making process around openness and the different preferences we each have.Learn moreNetworked practitioner: open or closed practice?
Level: 3 Advanced
How to make an open online course
Gain the skills and knowledge to design, structure and produce your own open online course. Head over to our sister site OpenLearn Create to get started with 'How to make an open online course'.
Take your training online
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many charities and NGOs moved their training online, often at high speed. 'Take your training onine' aims to help practitioners improve the online training they developed at speed.
FREE materials on distance learning
Distance learning can open up opportunities for study. You might have not studied for a while, you might be returning to education, or you might not have had the chance to study at a higher level before. This free course, Am I ready to be a distance learner?, will help to boost your confidence. You'll explore useful skills so you can discover how ready you are to study and how to develop your study skills in six steps to become a successful distance learner.Learn more ❯Am I ready to be a distance learner?
The Open University's Dr David Hann tells you how to become a successful distance learner in this extended interview from 'Go the Distance'.Watch now ❯Dr David Hann on how to succeed as a distance learner
Don't forget accessibility!
What works in a classrooom or lecture theatre may not work online. Have an understanding of the types of technology used by disabled students and the challenges they face in this free course:
It is part of a teaching professional's skills to understand the needs of a diverse population of students. This free course, Accessibility of eLearning, introduces the challenges for disabled students who may use computers in different ways when taking part in eLearning or may need alternative teaching methods. It covers the technology and techniques used by disabled students, the adjustments to teaching methods that might be reasonable, design decisions which affect the accessibility of eLearning tools and strategies for evaluation.Learn moreAccessibility of eLearning
Level: 3 Advanced
Still looking for inspiration?
Check out some examples of our most popular free courses, interactives and animations for inspiration on how to present your teaching online.
Our most popular FREE courses
The Open University has joined forces with MoneySavingExpert (MSE) to produce this new free course to give you the skills and knowledge to master your finances. Packed with videos, audios, quizzes and activities the course covers all the key aspects of personal finance in six sessions of study that each take around two hours to complete.Learn more ❯MSE’s Academy of Money
Learn about autism, one of the most challenging long-term conditions of the century. This free course, Understanding autism, introduces the autism spectrum, how it is experienced by individuals and families, and why it has become a global concern. The course explains how understanding of the autism spectrum and approaches to diagnosis and care have evolved. Key scientific approaches to studying autism are explained and illustrated, alongside substantial use of different personal perspectives. The course culminates with key topical issues such as autism in adulthood, and missed diagnosis in women. The course is suitable for all who need a clear, authoritative overview, and does not require prior knowledge of science or social science. It uses text, images and audio-visual media.Learn more ❯Understanding autism
Do you have a professional or personal interest in the mental health issues affecting young children? Are you working with children or are you a parent or carer? This free course, Supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing, is designed to give insight into the factors that are contributing to our youngest citizens’ poor mental health; examining factors from a national and global perspective. By the end of the course you will have gained knowledge about strategies and interventions that will help you to understand how you can support children’s mental health and improve their wellbeing.Learn more ❯Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing
This free course, Everyday maths 1, is designed to bring your learning to life, inspiring you to improve your current maths skills or helping you to remember any areas that you may have forgotten. Working through the examples and interactive activities in this course will help you to, among other things, run a household or make progress in your career.Learn more ❯Everyday maths 1
This free course, The science of nutrition and healthy eating, looks at the science behind nutrition, covering aspects of biology, chemistry and physics as well as giving some insight into healthier eating. Reading food labels, choosing healthier foods, hydrating appropriately and understanding how we taste food will allow you to be more informed about the choices you make about the food you eat.Learn more ❯The science of nutrition and healthy eating
This free course, Effective communication in the workplace, explores the importance of communication as a skill in the workplace. It aims to increase your understanding of communication skills and to help you to consider how your communication could be perceived by others. You'll cover areas such as verbal and non-verbal communication, written communication and using your communication skills to overcome challenging situations.Learn more ❯Effective communication in the workplace
This free course will teach you how to write your own computer programs, one line of code at a time. You'll learn how to access open data, clean and analyse it, and produce visualisations. You will also learn how to write up and share your analyses, privately or publicly.Learn more ❯Learn to code for data analysis
Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into how authors create their characters and settings. You will also be able to look at the different genres for fiction.Learn more ❯Start writing fiction
This free course, Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online, will help you to understand online security and start to protect your digital life, whether at home or work. You will learn how to recognise the threats that could harm you online and the steps you can take to reduce the chances that they will happen to you.Learn more ❯Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online
This free course, Getting started on classical Latin, has been developed in response to requests from learners who had had no contact with Latin before and who felt they would like to spend a little time preparing for the kind of learning that studying a classical language involves. The course will give you a taster of what is involved in the very early stages of learning Latin and will offer you the opportunity to put in some early practice.Learn more ❯Getting started on classical Latin
Our best games and interactives
All of us will experience personal challenges, but could you make a positive impact on someone's life? Try our wellbeing interactive 'A Support Net' to see if you can help four people.Take part now ❯A Support Net: Can you help someone in need?
Would you make a good eyewitness? Photofit Me explores how we remember faces and challenges you to construct the face of a culprit or to recreate the face of a celebrity or even a friend! Test yourself with our interactive and see how good your face recognition abilities are.Take part now ❯PhotoFit Me
Take a journey into the Earth's oceans and discover whether you've got what it takes to become an oceanographer. Explore ocean depths, currents, temperatures and find out more about the future of our oceans.Take part now ❯Ocean Explorer
Pit yourself against fate by embarking on a journey into Europe during one of its most volatile periods: 1500-1700. Can your historical knowledge outwit tempestuous Fortuna?Take part now ❯O' Fortuna: Can you survive Early Modern Europe?
Test your puzzle-solving ability with incredibly immersive and interactive puzzles from The Open University and UKMTTake part now ❯Perplex: Classic puzzles, past and present
There have been major changes in sexual attitudes over the years, but what are the views of the ‘average’ British person in terms of sex? Try our sexual attitudes interactive 'No sex please, we’re British!' to see how your views compare to the majority.Take part now ❯No sex please, we're British!
Our favourite videos and animations
What's your favourite Confucius quote on education and learning? Look at these examples and let us know what you think by voting in our poll.Take part now ❯12 famous Confucius quotes on education and learning
The Open University under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license
Three Tort law cases you should know
From issues with your neighbour activities to Katie Hopkins getting in to deep legal water on Twitter, check out the stories of three extraordinary torts in these short animations on law.Watch now ❯Three Tort law cases you should know
The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 license
Social media - fake news, filter bubbles and sharing wisely!
Meet Frank and travel with him on his adventures through the (sometimes foggy) realms of social media. Explore sharing, filter bubbles and fake news- maybe you can learn from Frank's mistakes with the help of Josie Long.Watch now ❯Social media - fake news, filter bubbles and sharing wisely!
From gagging a kiss and tell story to the issues around the statement 'finders keepers', take a look at some of these extraordinary animated law cases and why they matter.Watch now ❯Five Equity, Trust and Land Law Cases You Should Know
the Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
Troy Story: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey
Interested in Greek myths? We've condensed the epic narrative of Homer's poems the Iliad and the Odyssey into short animations voiced by the dulcet tones of Don Warrington.Watch now ❯Troy Story: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey
Mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment, whilst at the same time accepting your feelings, thoughts, and body’s sensations. But why does mindfulness matter?Read now ❯Five reasons why you should care about mindfulness
Beware the junk food marketer with their hashtags, games and sponsored tweets! Here are the top 5 things junk food marketers know about your child.Watch now ❯Top 5 things junk food marketers know about your child
Ever wondered where the Universe came from? Or more importantly, where it's headed? Voiced by David Mitchell, this series of 60 second animations examines different scientific concepts from the big bang to relativity, from black holes to dark matter. The series also explores the possibility of life beyond Earth and considers why David Bowie is still none the wiser about life on Mars.Watch now ❯60-Second Adventures in Astronomy
Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings - how did they impact the English language? Marisa Lohr traces the origins and development of the English language, from its early beginnings around 450 AD to the modern global language we use today.Read now ❯From old English to modern English
Copyright: © Mcpics | Dreamstime.com - Children with different sizes
Five ways you can tell if your child is ‘normal’
Just about every parent will have googled this question at some time or another. But how do you know whether your child really is 'normal'? Here are five things to consider…Read now ❯Five ways you can tell if your child is ‘normal’