The open course you cannot fail…

… unless you fail to find something interesting.

The second run of ocTEL, the Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning, is starting at the end of April. Last year we ran the course[1], designed, written and supported by members of ALT, for the first time and 1200+ people registered. Within the first few days, hundreds of participants interacted with the course and its fledgling community in some way. Then, different patterns of engagement began to emerge from those who were actively completing activities to those joining live sessions, posting in forums, blogging, tweeting or lurking.

So this time round, with a slightly shorter course, and a focus beyond teaching in Higher Education, how do we hope participation in the course will happen? The answer is simple: you cannot fail the course or fail to complete it. You might ask, why is that and how does it work then? Here are our thoughts on how you can make ocTEL work for you:


The course has an introduction week and 6 week-long modules (with a break in the middle). While you can participate from the first day to the last, there is no expectation that you do so. Modules, activities and live sessions don’t require you to have completed any of the previous ones, leaving you free to pick what’s most relevant to you, your role and your context. Each week there will be a “if you only do one thing” section, highlighting what we have chosen as a key activity. There will also be core activities, resources and a live session – and there is a new TEL explorer section for those of us who want to find out more about a particular topic.

Here is a list of the content of the course:

  • Week 0: TEL & the future (induction) – 28 Apr 2014
  • Week 1: Concepts and approaches – 5 May 2014
  • Week 2: Learners and learning – 12 May 2014
  • Week 3: Materials, platforms and technologies – 19 May 2014
  • Week 4: Support, feedback and assessment – 2 Jun 2014
  • Week 5: Leadership, management and keeping on track – 9 Jun 2014
  • Week 6: Enhancement, review and evaluation – 16 Jun 2014

Whatever you choose to participate in, there will be a range of options for doing so, which you can choose when you register and change throughout the course, including various social media channels, the course platform itself, your own blog, an email list, notifications and so forth. Lurkers are welcome! Particularly if you find something that’s relevant to you.

We are also working on incorporating open badges into the course, so there may well be a badge or two to earn for those who are looking to have something to show for their participation.

Click here to register for ocTEL.


The course is designed, written and supported by members of ALT on a pro bono basis. All its content depends on our community and your expertise, experience and know-how. You can contribute resources, become a tutor or help run one of the live sessions. You can also contribute to discussions, use the #ocTEL tag to share your own content across the web.

Once the course is up and running and you spot a gap or have a good example which might help others, you can still contribute.

Re-use, re-share, re-mix

ocTEL is an open course. By open, we don’t just mean free or open to all (although it is both of these things), but its content and platform are openly published. All content of the course is published under a creative commons licence (CC-BY), which means that you can re-use it, share it and re-mix it. Thus, if a part of the course is particularly relevant to the staff development in your institution, you can download all the materials and use them in your own context.

We also collect data about the course and all related activity, with the permission of participants, which we then also publish openly for researchers and others to use.

We hope that as a flexible, open way to share and create knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, about the intelligent use of Learning Technology, you will find a way to make ocTEL work for you. If the course enables you to find out about something interesting, have a valuable insight or make a new connection between 28 April and the end of June, then the course will have been a success.

The ocTEL platform.

Join us, register for ocTEL.

[1] In 2013 ocTEL was funded by a grant from the Innovation and Transformation Fund of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.

The Association for Learning Technology Team

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member.

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