Institution / Open University In Ireland
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This certificate is presented by The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology and is open to students from countries all over the world. It offers the unique opportunity to study the theory and practice of online and distance education through modules created by experts from the Institute who are reinventing digital learning through the innovative use of new media and technologies.

Key features of the course
•Designed to meet the needs of practitioners using new technologies in their professional context
•Deepens your understanding of online teaching and learning, and learning that blends face-to-face and distance education
•Encourages you to link your studies with your own practice throughout.

This certificate is the first stage of a study programme that progresses to a postgraduate diploma and finally a masters degree. You can step off at any point, or study the whole programme.

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 - 1 year.

Number of credits

60 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 certificate 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 Postgraduate Certificate 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:

•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 an planning, and critical review of research reports, if you have included The critical researcher: Educational technologies 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

We recommend that you first read our Pathways guidance to see which might be the best module(s) through this qualification for you. To gain this qualification, you need 60 credits as follows:

60 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 20 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 Certificate in Online and Distance Education entitling you to use the letters PG Cert (ODE) (Open) after your name.

To gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Online and Distance Education (D36) you must then complete another 60 credits from the above list.

For the MA in Online and Distance Education (F10) you must add another 60 credits either from the 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!