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 OpenLearn Create profile 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.

ExpandHow do I update my profile?

Your OpenLearn Create profile contains the information about yourself that you have provided, the free courses you have enrolled on, and those courses or collections that you are creating if you are building courses.

When you want to enrol on a course hosted on OpenLearn Create, you register for a free OU account, then return to the platform, login and enrol on the course.  When you login on OpenLearn Create, the platform pulls information about you from the central OU registration database (your name, email address and OU computer username - OUCU).

To edit your OpenLearn Create profile, click on your name or profile picture which is displayed at the top right of each page once you have logged in (or click on the blue 'my profile' button when you are logged in). 

Your profile has a public view and a private (your) view.  You can control what others can see about you on the public view (for example you can hide your email address and the courses you are studying from others who may view your public profile, there currently is no feature to hide your surname).  You can view how your public profile would be seen by others by clicking on the 'public view' button (which is alongside the 'edit profile' button). Click back to your view of your profile by clicking on the 'private view' button.  If you choose to add some information about yourself which is displayed in 'introduce yourself', the University will only display this information in your profile and it will be stored on Open University servers, this information will not be stored or displayed anywhere else. If you choose to include your learning interests in your profile (using tags) your name will show up in a search of the site by a logged in user for those tagged words or your name.  This provides a semi-public link to your learner profile (only available to users who have logged in to the site when searching).

Your public profile is visible to any signed in user of the site who knows the link to your profile: usually, this is if you have shared the link to your profile with someone or the link to your profile can be seen by others enrolled on the same course if you have participated in any social elements used in the course, such as a forum or wiki. Please note, many courses on OpenLearn Create do not use any of these social tools, so there is no way that other learners enrolled on the same course can know that you have also enrolled. Your public profile can be viewed by users who have been given course manager or teacher roles for a course you have enrolled on. Your private profile can be viewed by OpenLearn Create site managers.

If you need to change your name or email address in your OU registered account please contact the OU Computing Helpdesk (01908 653972) or SRS (Student Recruitment Service) on 0300 3035303.  If you are not an OU student you sign in with your email address, though if you know your OUCU (OU computer user name) or your PI (personal identifier) then you can sign in with either of those in the username box instead of your email address.  If you need to change the email address you use for signing in because you no longer use or have access to the email address you used for registering a free OU account to login to OpenLearn Create, then contact SRS (Student Recruitment Service) on 0300 3035303.  If you are not an OU student please explain that you use your free OU account for logging in to OpenLearn Create.  They would be able to update your details and provide you with your OUCU and PI number if required.

If you need a unique URL for your OpenLearn Create profile, login and go to your profile via the blue 'my profile' button.  The URL which appears won't look unique to you (it will be and defaults to displaying the tab ‘achievements’.  Please click on one of the other tabs (‘enrolments’ or ‘create’), the URL will change to a longer URL which includes your profile number on the end.  Then click back on ‘achievements’ and the URL will change to a shorter link and has the unique profile number at the end.  This is your URL for your OpenLearn Create profile.

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.

ExpandI'm interested in enrolling on a free course. What does level mean?
Much of the content on OpenLearn Create is accessible to anyone with a general interest in a subject. Each free course is set at a particular level to indicate the amount of previous educational experience expected for you to be able to study the unit without too much difficulty, and within the stated hours of study. There are four levels. The level is indicated in the summary description of each free course.

  • Level 0 Beginner – equivalent of up to high school level
  • Level 1 Introductory – equivalent to advanced high school or early University undergraduate study
  • Level 2 Intermediate – equivalent to University undergraduate level study
  • Level 3 Advanced – equivalent to post graduate university study
If you are new to higher education we recommend that you start with free courses at beginner or introductory level.
ExpandWhat are taxonomies and filters?
Taxonomies are methods of categorising materials to make it easier to find them.  On OpenLearn Create we have set up the following taxonomies and filters which can be used on the Free courses page to filter the list of courses down to the area of your enquiry:

  • Subject
  • Skills
  • Learning level
  • Resource length (study hours)
  • Teaching language
  • Location (if the materials are only relevant to people in a particular location)
  • Provider (we can add providers to the list if you email us on with more details of the provider)

Subject, learning level and resource length are all required when a new course is being set up in OpenLearn Create, while the other taxonomies are optional. This means that you may not find many courses when you filter using the optional taxonomies.

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.

If you choose to include your learning interests in your profile (using tags) your name will show up in a search of the site by a logged in user for those tagged words or your name.  This provides a semi-public link to your learner profile (only available to users who have logged in to the site when searching).

To see the OpenLearn Create tags go to

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.

ExpandPublishing Courses on OpenLearn Create

The default instance of Moodle on OpenLearn Create is a course.  This means if you create a course the design and terminology used by the site will refer to it as a course (rather than a module or unit).

We regularly monitor the courses which are being published on OpenLearn Create and reserve the right to remove or unpublish any course which contains content we deem not appropriate for an educational site, including direct marketing, plagiarised or offensive material. Please do not publish courses on OpenLearn Create which market commercial activities (especially those unrelated to education) or promote essay writing services.

Please use the guidance on the site at 'Get started' to help you build your course.

Please upload an image for the course so that the courses listing shows the course image rather than the default image (the OpenLearn Create logo on a grey background). The course image for the listing is uploaded via the edit settings form. You will be asked to provide information about the image for attribution, including the correct licence and owner of the image - Title, Author, Source (URL if online) and Licence information.

ExpandPublishing Articles on OpenLearn Create

We have provided an instance of Moodle on OpenLearn Create which means you can identify the content you upload to the site as an article rather than a course. An article is one page of content which has a summary, author(s) and text. It can contain images and links to video or audio which is already hosted elsewhere. Usually the article feature is used to accompany courses in a collection though an article can also be a standalone publication.

We regularly monitor the articles which are being published on OpenLearn Create. We reserve the right to remove any article which contains content we deem not appropriate for an open education site, including direct marketing, plagiarised or offensive material. Please do not publish articles on OpenLearn Create which market commercial activities (especially those unrelated to education) or promote essay writing services.

Please upload an image for the article so that the articles listing shows the article image rather than the default image (the OpenLearn Create logo on a grey background). The article image for the listing is uploaded via the edit settings form. You will be asked to provide information about the image for attribution, including the correct licence and owner of the image - Title, Author, Source (URL if online) and Licence information.

When including images in an article on OpenLearn Create, please limit the size of the image to 512 pixels wide so that it does not exceed the design layout of the article.

Please keep the title of your article short as the design of the article only gives two short lines for title in the articles listing, with longer titles truncated in the listing.

Please include the author’s name in the article. You can have more than one author with one identified as the lead author. Only include material in the article which you have permission to use. If you publish an article without an author listed, we are likely to unpublish the article until you update it with details of the author(s) and information about yourself (at the end of the article) if you are not the author.  If you are publishing an article on behalf of an author you MUST indicate that the author has given you permission to do so and include Title, Author, Source and Licence if the article was originally published elsewhere as well as your name as the person who has published the article on behalf of the author.  If you do not include this information, we reserve the right to unpublish the article until you provide this information.

When you publish the article a notification email will be sent to the mailbox and it will be checked briefly (though not proof read) before the publication is confirmed. Any articles which are not ready for publication will not have publication confirmed. 

The article feature does not take uploads of XML or SCORM files, it is a simple page of content which is edited in the Edit settings form for the article.

ExpandPublishing Materials, Handbooks, Guides or Competitions on OpenLearn Create

In addition to the ‘Course’ and ‘Article’ instances of Moodle on OpenLearn Create, you can also identify the content you upload to the site as Materials, Handbooks, Guides or Competitions when you Create a Resource.

Materials: like a course and has the same functionality available as a course, but a different descriptor (Materials).  It is usually used for open educational resources which do not need to be described as a course, such as reports, briefings and resources about a programme of study.

Handbook/Guide: these are identical except for the terms used to describe them.  They have less functionality than a course or materials, as they do not have the Rate and Review facility in their layout on screen, only Description and Content.  The format for a Guide or Handbook is usually ‘topics format’.  'Guide' is usually used for How to guides while ‘handbook’ is usually used for training handbooks.

Competition: has the same functionality as a course, but with a different descriptor (Competition).  It means that some of the Moodle tools can be used to run a competitive activity which is clearly identified that way rather than being called ‘course’ or ‘materials’.  For example, assignment or workshop tools could be used for submission of competition entries which can be judged by the panel using the marking tools.  It is also possible to use the questionnaire tool for a competition entry form and for confirming that the terms and conditions of entry have been read and understood.  If you need to use some of these tools for your competition, you may need to request ‘manager’ permissions for the competition and support with setting it up (via the mailbox).

ExpandIs OpenLearn Create a dofollow or nofollow site?

Currently OpenLearn Create is by default a dofollow site, which means that links posted on the site in courses and articles can be counted by Google for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). However, we are working towards implementing nofollow links by default in articles, to help discourage spam articles (which link to suspect sites to collect 'link juice' from OpenLearn Create) from being published.

We regularly monitor the articles which are published on OpenLearn Create by third parties. We move any articles which contain inappropriate content or many links to sites we cannot endorse to a Spam folder so they will not appear on the site if they are re-published and will delete such articles after 3 months.

We also monitor the courses published by third parties on OpenLearn Create for inappropriate or excessive links to external sites and reserve the right to remove or unpublish any course which appears to abuse dofollow on OpenLearn Create for 'link juice' to commercial or inappropriate sites.

ExpandHow do I start studying a course?

After you have enrolled, the starting point is in 'Course content'. You then navigate through the course either using the left hand navigation, or the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons (if provided).  Many of the courses hosted on OpenLearn Create do not have set start and end dates so you can take as long as you need to complete the course.

ExpandCan I used OpenLearn Create if I am aged under 16?

OpenLearn Create provides a platform for resources which could be used by school aged children in classroom settings or at home.

For learner users: If you are aged under 16 you need parental consent to register for a free OU account.  You can view the course content of any of the openly published courses on the platform, however you cannot complete any quizzes or participate in an online forum in a course on the platform if you haven't enrolled on the course, which requires login and enrolment with an OU account.

For course owners: Using diagnositic, practice or graded quizzes in a course on the site requires enrolment, which means the user needs an OU account. If your course requires learners under the age of 16 to use quizzes or other interactive tools, you must provide clear information to parents, teachers and children explaining the requirement to create and use an OU account with parental or guardian consent and you must point them to the FAQ guidance on how to delete their account if it is no longer required.

ExpandCan I speak to a tutor?

OpenLearn Create does not provide you with a tutor, most courses hosted on this platform are free standing short informal learning courses which do not have tutor support.

ExpandWhat is a digital badge?

Digital badges are a way of recording and displaying your new skills and achievements online for anyone to view. Badges can demonstrate your interest in a subject, commitment to your career or provide evidence and recognition of continuing professional development. They do not, however, carry any formal credit towards an Open University qualification.

Only some OpenLearn Create courses carry a digital badge. OpenLearn Create badged courses have been created by a variety of projects and all have different assessment criteria.  Badged courses hosted on OpenLearn Create which have been created in partnership with The Open University may not carry The Open University logo on the badge image, however they may have 'The Open University' written on the badge image.  Only the official OU badged Open Courses hosted on OpenLearn course may carry the OU logo.

You can gain a digital badge on OpenLearn Create or OpenLearn by studying one of the free ‘badged open courses’ (courses clearly indicate at the start if they carry a digital badge).  Whilst you will not receive support from a tutor on a badged course, you do get useful feedback from interactive quizzes. You are awarded the badge when you have read the full course and gained a particular grade in the quizzes.

Digital badges normally consist of the badge image and the badge information which lists the badge title, who issued the badge and the requirements for gaining the badge.  This enables employers, organisations, schools and individuals to see what you can do.  It also provides you with a confidence boosting record of your abilities.

You can show your digital badges to others by sharing them with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and by making them public, should you choose, in your OpenLearn Create profile or your My OpenLearn profile.

ExpandHow can I earn a badge?

As you work through a Badged Open Course, you may be invited to complete interactive quizzes which can count towards a digital badge. There may also be other requirements in order to claim your badge, such as reading all the pages of the course.   At the end of the course when you have completed all the requirements, your badge will be issued.  You will receive an email and the badge will appear in your OpenLearn Create profile, normally within 24 hours.

You can manage your digital badges in your OpenLearn Create profile.You can show your digital badges to others by sharing them with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and by making them public, should you choose, in your OpenLearn Create profile.

ExpandWhat is a statement of participation?

Some courses on OpenLearn Create have a Statement of Participation. Once you have enrolled on one of these courses and have completed it, you will be able to access and download the statement of participation.

You can print or email this statement of participation to demonstrate your successful completion of a free online course and your interest in the subject, commitment to your career or to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

ExpandHow do I find my statement of participation or digital badge?

You will be notified by email if you have received a statement of participation or been awarded a badge. This is usually within 24 hours of successfully completing the course. Please note that the Statement of Participation does not issue immediately as a data update to your course record (called a CRON run) has to take place before the Statement of Participation is available.You will be able to download the badge image from the email.

Once the statement or badge are available you will be able to see and download them from the course, when you are signed in, and from your  OpenLearn Create profile, under the Achievements section. (The statement will be a PDF file. To access the badge information you will need to click on the badge from the course or ‘Download’ in your profile).

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, because the site has not been mobile optimised yet.

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. For more information visit Moodle

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'.

ExpandWhat size images do I need for my course and collection?

If you are creating a course in OpenLearn Create you need the following images which you insert via the Edit Settings form when in edit mode:

  • A course image (which is used in the free courses listing) of 1.34 : 1 (7x5 picture size);
  • A course banner image (which is used on the course home page) of 785 pixels x 350 pixels (width x height);
  • Images in the course content should be no larger than 512 pixels wide.

See the Course builder guide for details of how to add the course and course banner images.

If you are creating a collection of courses and articles you need a collection banner image which is 850 pixels x 398 pixels (width x height).  You add this via the Edit category form for the collection (go to Manage courses in the footer, click on the collections tab and click on Edit collection).

ExpandCan I change the language of my course navigation menus to the language of my choice?

OpenLearn Create site design and guidance materials are in English by default. Moodle language packs are used to change the language for your course. Applying a language pack to your course does not provide an automatic translation of the materials you upload, it means that the editing menus as well as some of the course layout design labels and messages on the site can be changed to a different language.

The Moodle language packs available on OpenLearn Create so far are:

  • Arabic:  عربي (ar)
  • Bengali:  বাংলা (bn)
  • Burmese:  Myanma bhasa (my)
  • Chinese (Mandarin): 正體中文 (zh_tw)
  • Chinese (Cantonese):  简体中文_(zh_cn)
  • Czech:  Čeština (cs)
  • Dutch:  Nederlands (nl)
  • English (UK):  Olc_english (olc_english)
  • English (US):  United States (en_us)
  • English (old default on the site):  Ocw (ocw)
  • French:  Français (fr)
  • German:  Deutsch (de)
  • Hindi:  हिंदी (hi)
  • Hungarian:  Magyar (hu)
  • Italian:  Italiano (it)
  • Japanese:  日本語 (ja)
  • Kannada:  ಕನ್ನಡ (kn)
  • Odia/Oriya:  ଓଡ଼ିଆ (or)
  • Polish:  Polski (pl)
  • Portuguese (Brazil):  Português – Brasil (pt_br)
  • Portuguese (Portugal):  Português – Portugal (pt)
  • Slovak:  Slovenčina (ski)
  • Spanish:  Español – Internacional (es)
  • Swahili:  Kiswahili (sw)
  • Vietnamese:  Vietnamese (vi)
  • Welsh/Cymraeg:  Ocw_cy (ocw_cy)

Moodle language packs rely on the Moodle community to help with translation, therefore some of the packs are incomplete.  This means some labels on the front end of your course or in the editing menus might still appear in English rather than the language of your choice.  If you have a definitive translation for a label, we can probably update the language pack in OpenLearn Create via the language customisation tool (using language ‘strings’).  Please send details to the mailbox of what needs to be translated – we will need to know the Language pack you are using, the URL for your OpenLearn Create course, the English wording and the correct translation.

To change the language pack from the default English language pack in your course or resource, go to Edit Settings – Appearance and use the dropdown for ‘Force language’ to select the language pack.

Please note, the main site header and footer labels will not change from English when a different language pack is applied in a course. We have built a dual language Welsh and English portal for OpenLearn Cymru which has its own header and footer (this type of work requires IT development funds).

We are working to get the Statement of Participation template to display in the language pack of the course.

If your course needs a language pack which is not yet installed on OpenLearn Create, please let us know via the mailbox.  We cannot promise that the pack will be installed and tested when you request it because there is a development cost involved and other developments may have a higher priority.  However, if we get enough requests with good supporting reasons for a language, we will add the language pack to the list of packs to be installed in a future site upgrade, IT development funds permitting.

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.

OpenLearn Create is not yet mobile responsive which means that some screens may not display well on the small screen of a mobile device.  We are working towards making the site mobile responsive as soon as possible.

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?

In some courses 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.

In some courses The Open University also provides 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:

Please note, if you download one of these offline formats of the course material, OpenLearn Create does not track your offline progress thought this material.  If your course completion relies on visiting individual pages of information in the course materials, your progress bar will not show as complete even if you have completed all other activities which also count towards course completion.  You will need to click through all the pages of the course materials online so the system can record that you have visited every page and show that you have completed the materials.

ExpandHow can the course I am creating offer alternative formats?

The standard Moodle tools available to external course authors enable you to upload your own Word or PDF versions of your materials which learners can download, however the OU Structured content (XML) functionality is not available for external course creators to use.  

The Open University Corporate Learning Services team offers a supported service for your course or project which can include tagging and rendering your materials into OU Structured content and rendering to your draft course for you to approve.  See Supported project collections on OpenLearn Create for further details.

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 via cookies?

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?

If you already have an OU computer username (OUCU) you only need to enter it when registering on OpenLearn Create, followed by your password. No other information is needed.  If you do not have an OUCU because you are not an OU student or staff member, you can register for a free OU account to login to sites such as OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create.  Once you have registered for a free OU account you can use your email address and password to login to OpenLearn Create which enables you to enrol on individual courses.

OpenLearn Create only receives your name, email address and OU computer user name (OUCU) from the central OU signon system, it does not receive any other information you may have given when you registered for a free OU account.

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

If you register for a free OU account and login to OpenLearn Create, other users will be able to see your name, location and study interests if you have made this information available when editing your profile. See How do I update my profile? in the frequently asked questions for details of how to edit your profile and how the public/private settings of the profile work.  

If you need to change your name or email address in your OU registered account please contact the OU Computing Helpdesk.

If you are enrolled on a course by a partner/third party organisation which has been given enhanced permissions to manage their course(s) hosted on OpenLearn Create, the individuals managing or teaching that course will be able to see your name, email address, progress through course materials and any grades you may achieve (by completing activities such as quizzes or submitting files for assessment).  Course managers and teachers who are external to The Open University are required to sign a declaration to confirm they will act in accordance with the OU data protection and privacy policies as explained in in Conditions of use, Privacy and cookies and Frequently asked questions about OpenLearn Create.

In some courses by third party organisations a third party course creator may have inserted some data collection code for particular activities which may save the comments you enter to an externally hosted platform rather than on OpenLearn Create.  They are required to explain to users where this data will be stored and how it will be used in advance of the activity, so that the learner can make an informed choice about whether to record and save their comments on the screen in third party produced courses. 

Unless we have provided a supported service to build a course, The Open University does not inspect every externally produced course in detail which is hosted on OpenLearn Create, although we do provide advice and guidance to course creators via the onsite guidance and by responding to queries via the mailbox.  When alerted via the Report a concern button or a message via the mailbox, the Open University investigates, hides or removes inappropriate content or unethical data collection activities in resources on the site which may contravene General Data Protection Regulations.

The Open University is not responsible for the content and quality of third party courses it has not been involved in creating which are hosted on OpenLearn Create, learners enrol on and participate in such courses at their own risk.

ExpandHow do I enrol on a course on OpenLearn Create?
To enrol on a course on OpenLearn Create you need to have a registered OU account and have logged in to the OpenLearn Create site.  When you have selected a course you are interested in you will see an enrol button on the home page, if it is the type of course which requires enrolment. 

Some resources published on OpenLearn Create, though they might be described as courses, are a collection of materials about a topic but do not have completion tracking set up and do not require enrolment for you to view and use the materials.  These resources do not have assessment, tracking, a statement of participation or a badge. They also may not have an enrolment button.

Some courses have an enrolment password (enrolment key) which means the course materials are not available to study unless you have logged in to the site and have put the enrolment key into the box when you try to enrol on the course. Usually these courses are closed cohorts which are set up by organisations for continuing professional development of staff.  The organisation will send the URL and enrolment key to those who need to study the course.
ExpandHow do I return to where I left off in the course I'm enrolled on?
Some courses in OpenLearn Create have completion tracking set up which means an activity record and progress bar is available to you while you study. For these courses you can use the course navigation menu in the course materials to help you see which page or section you were last studying.

You can also access your course activity record via your profile while you are studying your course, which will help you see what you have covered so far. If the course you are studying has been set up using OU structured content, when you return to a content file in the course, a message will appear at the top of the page telling you where you left off.

Please note that due to the fact that a variety of different organisations have set up courses in different ways on the platform, it will be easier to find your way to where you left off in some courses than others.
ExpandWhy does my course progress bar not show as complete?

If completion tracking has been set for your course a progress bar will appear along with tick boxes beside the elements of the course which count towards completion.  Some courses will have check boxes alongside every section of the course material (if they have been set up with separate files for each section) while others will have one checkbox for all the course materials if all sections are in one file.  There will be separate checkboxes for other activities such as quizzes if they count towards course completion. 

If the course materials for your course have been set up using OU structured content files then alternative versions of the course materials will be generated which you can download to study offline.  However the system cannot track your progress through offline materials you have downloaded which you might be studying on a mobile device, laptop or personal computer, it only tracks your progress through the online version of the materials in the course. This means that you might complete all the quizzes (which you can only do online) and they will show as complete, while the tick box beside the course materials in the course will not show any progress until you have clicked through every page of the materials online.

ExpandCan I delete my OpenLearn Create account?

If you want to delete your OpenLearn Create account please contact us on

Please note, deleting your OpenLearn Create account will delete all your course enrolments and course achievements (including any badges and Statements of Participation you may have achieved) on the platform. It will not delete your OpenLearn account. It will not delete your free OU account.  If you wish to delete your OU account please contact the OU Computing Helpdesk. Deleting your OU account will result in your OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create accounts being deleted.

ExpandWhy is the site sometimes not available?

We are continually developing further improvements to the functionality and features of OpenLearn Create. Sometimes this means the site is not available to users for a short period of time. When IT developments are ready to be made available on the live site, we have to put the site into maintenance mode so that the IT developers can transfer the code across and test everything still works as expected before making the site live again.  Sometimes this can take a few hours to complete if the upgrades are extensive.  Smaller updates and bug fixes are patched to the live site if they don't involve big code changes.

Planned updates can happen up to four times a year and we will publish a news article on the site a few days before an update is due to take place.


ExpandHow can I make a donation?

When originally developing OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create in 2006, The Open University was 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



ExpandWill enquiries to OpenLearn Create be answered?

If you cannot find the answer that you are looking for in our Help and Support area or would like to 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 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 or complete the form below.

Course creators, tell us about building your course

Please complete our online survey to help us improve OpenLearn Create

Take our survey