Being an OU student
Being an OU student

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.

2 Essential computer skills

You’ll need a basic level of computing skills to study with the OU and it’s important to check before you start studying that you don’t have any gaps you need to address.

You may already be a confident computer user but it’s still worth checking these so that you get off to the best possible start in your studies.

Do this in following activity.

Activity 1 Assessing your computing skills

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Complete the following self-assessment activity. Click on the image to get to the activity. You may have completed this before you registered, but it’s worth revisiting now you’ve found out a bit more about OU study.

Please note that if you live outside of the UK you will not be able to access this activity as it is on a website for students resident in the UK. There is, however, lots of information about the skills you will need in the Help Centre [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


If you found you were lacking in any of these basic skills then we strongly recommend you visit this basic computing skills page in the Help Centre and brush up on the basics.

The Help Centre, the OU Library and the Computing Guide offer a wealth of resources to help you develop your online and computer related skills. So if you’re struggling to do something at any point in your studies, remember to check any of these for help.

There is also a wider set of skills relating to using digital devices, such as computers or mobile devices. These are known as digital skills and are the subject of the next section.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371