Institution / Open University In Ireland
City scape


This innovative MA offers you the unique opportunity to study the theory and practice of online and distance education through materials created by experts from The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology – who are reinventing digital learning through the innovative use of new media and technologies. You’ll develop your understanding of technology-enhanced learning, from design, selection and use to evaluation and continuing development. A wide choice of modules enables you to contextualise your learning in topics of relevance to your own practice, including e-learning at work, social media, supporting disabled students, and research methods.

Key features of the course
•Our study environment enables you to collaborate with students from around the world
•There is scope for individual study and you'll receive individualised feedback from you tutor
•Puts your learning at the forefront of the latest developments in digital learning.

Entry requirements

You must be prepared for study at postgraduate level. This usually means holding a bachelors degree - whether from a UK university or from one outside the UK - or its equivalent. 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. Although experience of distance education may be an advantage, it is not essential. If you are not sure whether your qualifications and experience are suitable, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.


Minimum - 2 years.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
Workplaces and work roles increasingly involve media-rich and technology-enhanced forms of learning, professional practice and personal development, often summarised in the term ‘elearning’. Accordingly the experience of achieving this masters degree has proved vocationally relevant across a wide range of occupations and locations, from managers in business organisations, media professionals, teachers of languages, consultants, trainers and teachers at any level of the education sector.

Each module in the MA in Online and Distance Education requires study using a range of tools and The Open University's online learning environment. Consequently you will improve your personal skills in using these tools, enabling you to develop your own practice and to learn from others. You will explore in depth the research and practice literature in technology-enhanced learning, and experience the implications of learning technology choices made across a wide range of contexts and organisations, both formal and informal. You will advance not only your skills of selection and design of technology, but also your understanding of how technologies engage learners and how they can be evaluated and developed on a continuing basis.

Depending on your choice of module study, the qualification will enable you to demonstrate, in addition, expertise in particular areas:
•Designing, implementing and critiquing technology-enhanced learning, if you study Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates (H800)

•Open educational resources and approaches for learning within university, college, management or other contexts, if you include Openness and innovation in elearning (H817)

•The development of inclusive education in relation to the accessibility of learning contexts online for all students, including the support needs of those with a disability, if you include Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students (H810).

•Research and evaluation of educational technology, including research design and planning, and critical review of research reports, if you have included. The critical researcher: Educational technology in practice (H819).

•The increasing usage of social media and open content by educators and students to share knowledge and practice through online dissemination and an online conference if you include The networked practitioner (H818).

The vocational relevance of the MA in Online and Distance Education goes well beyond the obvious category of teacher and trainer, and previous alumni have included librarians, media professionals, project managers, consultants, entrepreneurs, other professionals in commerce, practice educators in nursing and web developers.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also look at our OU study and your career pages to find out about potential career opportunities related to OU subject areas.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

You can study the modules in any order, but we recommend that you read our Pathways guidance to help you choose suitable route through the qualification.

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

A 60-credit compulsory module

Compulsory module

Credits Next start
Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates (H800) 60 03 Feb 2018 FINAL


60 credits from list A:

List A: Core optional modules

Credits Next start
Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students (H810) 30 02 Sep 2017 FINAL
Openness and innovation in elearning (H817) 60 03 Feb 2018
The critical researcher: educational technology in practice (H819) NEW 30 01 Apr 2017
The networked practitioner (H818) 30 07 Oct 2017

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules H801, H802, H803, H804, H805, H806, H807, H808, H809.


a further 60 credits from list A or list B:

List B: Optional modules

Credits Next start
Addressing inequality and difference in educational practice (EE814) 60 07 Oct 2017
Applied linguistics and English language (EE817) 60 07 Oct 2017
Children and young people's worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807) 60 07 Oct 2017
Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811) 60 07 Oct 2017
Understanding children's development and learning (ED841) 60 07 Oct 2017

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules E801, E805, E846, E848, E852, E854, E855, E856, E857, E859, E891, EE880, EE881, ET821, H812, H850, ME825, SEH806, SH804.

If you have already studied with The Open University at postgraduate level and now want to count your module or modules towards the MA in Online and Distance Education, you will need to ask us to link your previous record to the qualification. We will check our regulations at that stage to ensure the module is eligible.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Master of Arts in Online and Distance Education entitling you to use the letters MA (ODE) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

You are also eligible for a Postgraduate Certificate in Online and Distance Education (C23) when you have successfully gained 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma in Online and Distance Education (D36) after achieving 120 credits.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!