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AI language technology in the workplace

This short course explores the rapidly rising forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) such as language technologies that use human language to carry out daily activities, communicate with people and control systems and devices. You’ll examine the impact on our everyday working lives, as well as the broader historical representation of society through this technology. The course explores the technology itself and the issues it presents by using a unique co-design methodology, where people representing marginalised groups have contributed their voices and lived experiences to shape the course content.

After successfully completing this short course, you’ll receive a digital badge. This can be shared on social media, added to email signatures or act as a certificate.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code



This is a non-credit bearing course.

Study method

Short course cost

Entry requirements

What you will study

AI is part of a swathe of recent technologies that have the potential to significantly disrupt societies and cultures, both for good and ill, in ways that are sure to be profound but that are as yet little understood.

Emerging AI technologies, which include smart assistants, speech recognition and chatbots, risk severely misrepresenting society more generally. Without action to address this, they have the potential to disproportionately exacerbate the marginalisation of less-represented groups in society. In this his short course you’ll gain a solid understanding of the applications of language technology across all aspects of the modern workplace, including a focus on responsibility, transparency and fairness.

You’ll learn about the following:

Unit 1: Language technology all around us

Gain an understanding of the historical, social/cultural and political challenges of AI language technologies with a focus on their use in the modern workplace.

Unit 2: Responsibility, transparency and fairness in language technology

Discover the risks associated with the use of language technology, including the potential for bias toward some forms of language. Gain an understanding of the increasing use of such technology in surveillance, with special consideration of how to identify and manage these risks in the workplace. 

Unit 3: Applications: Communication interfaces

Focus on questions about how language technologies work and the technical challenges of building technology to communicate successfully with humans. 

Unit 4: Language technology in education

Explore a detailed case study on the use of language technology for educational purposes, covering the opportunities, challenges and risks that arise from this. 

Unit 5: Designing and evaluating language technology in education

Consider the design and evaluation of language technologies, with a focus on issues such as ethics, accessibility, equality, diversity and inclusiveness, which arise when introducing language technologies into the education workplace. 

The material you will encounter has been designed to provide greater understanding of the technology itself, increased awareness of its risks, ideas about how to best respond to such risks, and also ways of identifying the opportunities offered by language technology. Throughout the course, you will hear from a range of stakeholders across domains where this technology is used, including researchers, developers and activists within academia, industry and elsewhere, many of whom address ways of increasing the equality, diversity and inclusiveness of such technology.

Please note that although this course is non-accredited, it can be used towards the module Making your learning count (YXM130) to gain OU credits.

You will learn

By the end of this course, you will:

  • understand how language technologies work and major recent developments in this field  
  • have learned how to identify and manage the opportunities, risks and challenges of using AI language technologies in the workplace  
  • have critically evaluated primary source information on issues surrounding AI language technologies 
  • be able to formulate your own responses to issues surrounding AI language technologies, driven by fact-based critical research 
  • be able to identify key risks in language technology projects 
  • have learned about the design and evaluation of language technologies and special considerations for the workplace  
  • understand the importance of incorporating considerations around equality, diversity and inclusion when incorporating AI language technologies in the workplace. 

Learner support

The course is taught entirely online, with the aid of a learning adviser to offer support where needed. You will have access to online forums that you are strongly encouraged to participate in, as they are an excellent source of support and information. These forums combine peer support with input from the specialist learning adviser(s). Other support is available via the StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying LG007 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.


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

There are no entry requirements for this course.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact us.

Course length

The course is made up of 5 units, with each unit expected to take about 3-4 hours to study. In total, you’ll need around 20 hours to complete the course.

You can begin at any time during the life of the course and study at your own pace. The course will be open to you for a time period of between 6 and 18 months depending on your course registration date and you will be advised of the specific time limitations upon enrolment.


Start End England fee Register
At anytime before registration end date Jun 2025 - see Entry requirements for more detail £195.00

Registration closes 31/07/2024


Ways to pay

Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2024/25 academic year. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of less than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

All learning materials are delivered entirely online and there is no formal tuition for this course.

Your study is self-directed and you’ll have access to a course website, which includes:

  • a unit-by-unit study planner
  • course-specific materials and activities
  • audio and video content
  • discussion forums and a course forum
  • support from specialist learning advisers.

Computing requirements

You'll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS Ventura or higher.

Functionality may be limited on mobile devices. For example, voice recorder activities, which are common in language short courses, may not work on iOS/Apple devices.

Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.