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The networked practitioner

New opportunities for sharing knowledge and engaging with others are transforming the practices of educators and learners. However, many of us use social media and open content in what Lawrence Lessig described as ‘read-only’ engagement. This module will develop your practice into new forms of active and purposeful networked ‘readwrite’ activity. Working on a project, you will publish and share practice within an online Conference and our ‘OpenStudio’, producing module materials which explore and address a key theme in online and distance education. You will also critically assess and actively visualise your own engagement with online networks and open practice.

Vocational relevance

This module is designed for educational professionals and other practice-based professionals who want to develop their skills in networking, communicating and sharing. It promotes ways of developing and disseminating work through professional conference and publication routes linked with online and distance learning. The module aims to provide an authentic experience of how to develop as a networked practitioner both within and beyond the module.

The module is a core component of our MA in Online and Distance Education (F10), which you can study as separate modules and in any order - though we recommend you first read our Pathways guidance to see which might be the best route through this qualification for you. 


H818 is an optional module in our:

This module can also count towards F01 which is no longer available to new students.

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.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This module is project-based so offers you a larger than usual degree of control over what you produce in your assignments. It is therefore particularly suitable if you have previous experience of teaching and/or learning online that can provide a starting point for your focus in the project. It offers an opportunity to develop and improve existing ideas into publication, presentation or demonstration formats. You will discuss these in an online conference and engage with a module-wide and selected external audience under authentic conference conditions.

You will start by engaging with the ideas underlying open scholarship, open access and open research, and determine where you wish to position your own personal practices within these concepts. Having selected one of the key themes and decided upon a format and approach to your presentation, you will develop and share ideas using OpenStudio, exchanging feedback and advice with other module participants. You will produce a multimedia ‘poster’ for your project and engage in a formal and informal review of the work of others.

A further aspect of the module is its teaching around social networks to support educational practitioners, including analysis of these networks to help you to understand your own place as a networked practitioner.

The module will build confidence and competence in online dissemination across a range of discussion environments, using a blend of tools and platforms applicable to the project activity you have selected. Throughout you will be encouraged to share your ideas and practices both within and beyond the H818 community. This will allow you to experience and build on peer reflection before, in and after action, foster the development of your own practitioner network and enable you to engage in authentic practice-based networking online.

You will complete the module with a planning and preparation activity to support development of your project for broader dissemination, such as external publication in an open access journal.

As in other modules in the MA in Online and Distance Education programme you can expect to study as part of a lively community of students, sharing diverse international, professional and disciplinary viewpoints and contexts. Experienced online tutors will support you in addressing the key themes and comparing approaches.

You will learn

The learning outcomes for this module are available here. 

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 us 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 must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2019. This module starts once a year in October and is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.


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

    Entry requirements

    To take this module you need to be ready for study at postgraduate level, usually demonstrated by having a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification. You need easy access to the Web, but you don’t need to be experienced in blogging or in online discussion forums. Nor do you need to be working in technology-enhanced learning, but you should be interested in developing some expertise in this area.

    However, if you have successfully completed two-thirds of a bachelor’s degree (an HND in the UK, for example) and have professional experience in technology-enabled learning, you may still be eligible for the programme. You will be asked to provide further information and evidence of your eligibility as part of the registration process for the programme. 

    All teaching is in English, and your proficiency in the language needs to be adequate for postgraduate study and for contributing to online discussions by text and voice. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you make sure you can achieve a score of at least seven in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). To assess your English Language skills in relation to your proposed studies, you can visit the IELTS website.

    You need to have continual access to the internet and be confident in online communication. We also recommend that you have prior experience of learning, teaching or presenting online. 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 speak to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    No formal preparatory work is required, however you may wish to familiarise yourself with the ideas behind digital and open scholarship, for example by reading Chapter 1: Digital, networked and open in the free-to-access publication, The Digital Scholar by Professor Martin Weller, one of the authors of this module.


    Start End England fee Register
    05 Oct 2019 Apr 2020 £1225.00

    Registration closes 19/09/19 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.

    Future availability

    The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2019. This module starts once a year in October and is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Ways to pay

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    This module 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

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    We have tried to avoid using inaccessible resources, but some material which is core for the module may not be easily accessible if you use assistive technology. Some students may also find the amount of reading from technically different sources challenging. In many cases there will be sufficient alternative activities and material to enable you 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 with access to Library resources is available from the Library Helpdesk.

    Written transcripts of any audio components are available, as are printable versions of the online text based material. Some online material may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader (and mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

    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. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.