Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Take your teaching online
Take your teaching online

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1.1 Being an online learner

Described image
Figure 1 Some online learners study while travelling, or wherever they can find an internet connection.

When learning online, you need to consider how best to engage with the study materials, search for related information and communicate with others. At this stage, you need to think about the following:

  • Your study goals. One goal will be to complete the course successfully. However, you may have other goals, such as exploring one or two topics in more depth, gaining experience of a particular aspect of online learning, or dealing with a specific issue.
  • Managing your time. This course is designed so that you can study for around four hours a week for eight weeks. However, the course is flexible, so consider any prior commitments you will need to take into account.
  • Workspace. If you are studying while at work, setting up a workspace may be straightforward. If you need to study at home or elsewhere, take the time to find a space that is comfortable and not too noisy.
  • Connectivity. Consider how you will access the course if the internet connection in your chosen workspace is not good (or is non-existent).
  • Support. It is sometimes easier to study with others, by setting up a study group or by identifying another person who can be a ‘study buddy’.
  • Note-taking. The course has areas to make notes on activities, but you may want to keep notes elsewhere. This could be online, using a tool such as OneNote, EverNote or Google Docs; on your computer or tablet; or you may prefer handwritten notes. It is usually easiest to have all your notes in one place. Plan ahead to avoid situations where, for example, you are studying at home but your notes are on a computer at work, or your notes are online but you have no access to an internet connection during a study session.

The following activity gives you time to prepare to study this course. The time suggested for the activity is only approximate and will depend on whether you have studied online in the past. Take the time you need, as completing these tasks at this stage will make it easier for you to complete the course successfully.

Activity 2 Preparing for online study

Timing: Allow about an hour and a quarter
  • Make a note of your study goals. Doing this will help you to decide where to focus attention while studying the course.
  • Block out time for study in your diary or calendar. This course is made up of eight four-hour ‘weeks’, and you will need to set aside extra time at the end of week eight for the badge quiz and final reflection.
  • If you do not already have an appropriate workspace, take some time to decide where you will study and to locate the resources you will need.
  • If the internet connection where you plan to study is inconsistent or non-existent, plan how you will access the course. The course can be downloaded in different formats, giving you the option to work through much of it offline on a laptop, tablet, e-book reader or phone.
  • If you would like to work with others, for example in a study group or with a study buddy, contact people who may be interested in studying with you, such as work colleagues.
  • Decide where you will make or store your notes on the course and set up the space to do so.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Building time into a course for these activities emphasises their importance. It will help you monitor your learning and identify potential problems, since it provides an opportunity for discussion about whether you have access to appropriate technology or to a suitable study space.