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Openness and innovation in elearning

Innovations in elearning are moving at a fast pace especially with the use of new social software tools that encourage peer supported learning and assessment. With an emphasis on exploring innovation, you will discover the latest educational communication developments, and also experience developments in open education. You will develop specific elearning and etutoring skills (including online group moderation and elearning activity design), conduct small-scale investigations, and use case studies, with the overall aim of incorporating or rethinking elearning activity into your own professional context. This module will introduce you to current debates around the concept of openness.


Start End England fee Register
07 Feb 2015 Oct 2015 £2140.00

Registration closes 23/01/15 (places subject to availability)

Click to register
This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2018.

What you will study

As a current or potential innovator in elearning this module invites you to think about and discuss what constitutes true innovation in this area and to consider why some innovations are adopted more readily than others. You will gain the skills to become a pedagogical professional in the use of innovative technologies for learning.

The learning design approach used empowers you as an educational practitioner to make informed use of the resources at your disposal to create effective innovative learning experiences. You will work in groups on a learning design project of your choice, and construct a website to present your project.

One of the latest online developments in openness is teaching through a massive open online course (MOOC). You will gain direct experience of working within a MOOC and the experience will help you to gain new skills and a deeper understanding of open educational resources.

You will engage with a number of cutting edge issues surrounding the use of innovative technologies. These include such topics as the use of open educational resources, learning design and e-assessment. You will develop specific elearning and etutoring skills (including online group moderation and elearning activity design, conduct small-scale investigations, and use case studies, with the overall aim of incorporation or rethinking elearning activity into your own professional context.

Studying this module you will be part of a lively international community of students who will be sharing their experiences in different cultural contexts. Although H817 is based largely on research, practice and elearning in the UK, the field of learning is an international one, and we recognise the immense value that global participants can bring to the dialogue around elearning innovations.

The tuition and support provided will encourage you to participate in H817’s learning groups and to develop your independent skills in finding and evaluating information, software tools, practitioner accounts and research papers. You will be encouraged to relate these to your own practice.

Vocational relevance

H817 is designed for educational professionals who want to become confident  in the use of innovative technologies for learning.

Some of our students are sponsored by their employers, who value the vocational relevance of the MA in Online and Distance Education programme.


To take this module you must have a degree or equivalent qualification. Your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for postgraduate study. We strongly recommend that you can achieve an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least seven. To assess your English Language skills in relation to your proposed studies, you can visit the IELTS website.

You must also have continual access to the internet and be confident in online communication. In addition, you should have some experience of reading and understanding academic literature.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.


H817 is an optional module in our:

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service before registering.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

In this module you are expected to use a wide range of resources and to study emerging online technology. Most of these will be delivered as web pages, PDF files and web-based tools. We have tried to avoid using inaccessible resources, but some material which is core for the module may not be easily accessible for assistive technology users.

Written transcripts are available for the audio-visual material. Some students find the amount of reading from technically different sources challenging. In many cases there will be sufficient alternative activities and material to complete assignments successfully. Where this is not the case, you will be given individual support by your tutor, in collaboration with other OU staff. Support for access to Library resources is available from the Library Helpdesk. It is your responsibility to make your particular needs known to the University. 

For modules which study the use of emerging online tools, you may find the services of a non-medical helper will be beneficial. Advice on this is available from our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.

Study materials

What's included

H817 provides you with a dedicated website, specially written web-based teaching material, online study groups, learning activities for small groups and for you to undertake individually, blog and wiki tools, support from your tutor, live discussion online and message-based forums and other internet resources.

As an OU student, you can use the Open University Library website. This provides access via the internet to a wide range of online resources such as databases, full-text ejournals, reference sources, ebooks, newspapers, images and more to support your studies. You can use these to do a literature search, keep up to date with your subject, or read around a topic. Support for developing and improving your information searching skills is available on the Library website, and the Library Helpdesk is there seven days a week to provide help and advice on finding and using information.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will guide you on many aspects of the module, who will mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You will be taught and assessed through a combination of media, including email, online forums and the internet.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in February 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world's leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you're at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you'll be supported throughout your studies - your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code H817
Credits 60
OU Level Postgraduate
SCQF level 11
FHEQ level 7
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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