Institution / Open University In Ireland
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This postgraduate diploma offers the unique opportunity to draw on the expertise of The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology - world leaders in the innovative use of new media and technologies in online education. You will study the theory and practice of online and distance education, covering topics such as the learning experiences of disabled students and the technical aspects of accessibility; and the processes of designing, implementing and evaluating technology-enhanced learning. Working with our experts in collaboration with colleagues from around the world, you will be at the forefront of the latest developments.

Key features of the course
•Designed to develop creative, effective elearning professionals
•Builds your research and evaluation skills in the context of online education
•Enables you to experience producing online and distance education resources and improving them through peer engagement and reflection
•The opportunity to top up to our MA in Online and Distance Education in just one more year.

Entry requirements

You must be prepared for study at postgraduate level. This usually means holding a bachelor's 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

120 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 diploma has proved vocationally relevant across a wide range of occupations and locations, from managers in business organisations, teachers of languages, consultants, trainers and teachers at any level of the education sector.

Each module in the Diploma in Online and Distance Education requires study using a range of tools and learning environments. Consequently you will improve your personal skills in using these tools and this makes a positive impact on your own practice. You will 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:
•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, if you include The networked practitioner (H818).

The vocational relevance of a qualification 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, practice educators in nursing, web developers and other professionals in commerce

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 a suitable route through the qualification.

To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits from this list:

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
Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates (H800) 60 03 Feb 2018 FINAL
The critical researcher: educational technology in practice (H819) NEW30 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.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 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 Postgraduate Diploma in Online and Distance Education entitling you to use the letters PG Dip (ODE) (Open) after your name.

To gain the MA in Online and Distance Education (F10) you must gain another 60 credits either from studying modules listed above or from a wider selection of postgraduate modules. You must include the 60-credit module Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates (H800).

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!