Welcome to the open Flexible, Distance and Online Learning (FDOL) course.

FDOL is for teachers, educational developers, learning technologists, course designers who would like to experience, explore and learn more about the pedagogy of flexible, distance and online learning. We model the use of freely available social media tools and platform which we utilise for learning that don’t require extensive technical expertise to be mastered and implemented. Our focus is the design and how the available digital technologies can support this to extend  opportunities for connection, engagement and distributed learning.

FDOL will enable learners to develop an understanding of the benefits and challenges learners and facilitators are facing in online, flexible and distance learning. It will also assist learners to develop effective strategies in order to design and implement their own flexible, blended, online and open courses, modules and programmes depending on their professional context.

FDOL provides a space to experiment with alternative ways to engage individuals and groups in open and collaborative educational development activities. We hope to enable and extend cross-institutional learning conversations to further our understanding, knowledge and skills around contemporary learning and teaching trends, ideas and issues linked to FDOL but also make us un- and rethink about our own practices.

We are not trying to compete with current xMOOCs, cMOOCs, MITx and other MOOC creations nor do we expect that this will be a course for the masses or that the masses will sign up for FDOL. We designed a DIY open course, a course that anybody could create using freely available technologies and without relying on technical expertise and support resources (a sustainable solution?) placing the learner at the heart of their learning. FDOL is an experimental open educational development intervention for a specific audience. We trial different approaches that might be helpful for some to become self-directed learners and survive and thrive in open learning environments. One size does not fit all, we think we all would agree on this.

Participants will be able to reflect upon this engagement, as an immersive learning experience through collaborative and networked learning activities. Learners have the opportunity to work within small groups using COOL FISh, a PBL framework under development for open courses. This was first piloted during #fdol131. Some might say that groups have no place in networks. Well, some have actually said that. We gave it a go during #fdol131 and discovered that groups can work and help create learning relationships and act as a motivator in open online settings. Since #fdol131 we offered #fdol132 in the second half of 2013 after simplifying our model further. No more peripheral participation as such in groups. We noticed that group retention increased, which was fantastic. If you prefer to carry out your inquiry on your own or through initiating your own connections, this is absolutely fine and possible also. All learners regardless the learning mode they choose are encouraged to reach out to others beyond their existing learning groups and networks as access to such a rich cohort of open learners.

How much engagement and study time will be required on a weekly basis for open learners? We estimate between 3-8 hours depending on the level of engagement. Working for example within a facilitated PBL group will require more commitment and time.


  1. To provide opportunities for learners’ engagement in inclusive and flexible pedagogies and collaborative open practices that support learning in the digital age, aligned with the UK PSF and/or SEDA Values where relevant.
  2. To provide opportunities to develop learners’ understanding of the benefits and challenges involved in designing flexible pedagogical interventions supported by  technology in face-to-face, blended and fully online mode.
  3. To provide learners opportunities for reflection on their practice based on the  experience as learner in open educational settings.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding of
On successful completion of this course learners will be able to:

  1. Reflect on how inclusive and flexible pedagogies can be used within their teaching context aligned with the UK PSF and/or SEDA Values where relevant.
  2. Discuss benefits and challenges which influence the use of flexible pedagogies supported by  technologies in Higher Education.
  3. Reflect on their experience as learners in open educational settings.

Please note, the above are generic course ILOs. You are also encouraged to define your own intended learning outcomes if you learn autonomously and/or with a (PBL) group.

FDOL resources can be found at https://www.diigo.com/list/chrissinerantzi/pgcap-fdol including related open access journals. A selection of open access readings linked to specific units have been added under the specific units tab.

The FDOL course has been developed by educational developers Chrissi Nerantzi and Lars Uhlin. Any related research will be disseminated through conference contributions and publications. 

Please get in touch with Chrissi or Lars at openfdol @ gmail.com (without the spaces) or via Twitter at @openfdol if you are interested in any of the above.

FDOL141 started on the 10th of February 14 (@openfdol #FDOL141). The course will last 6 weeks.

Artwork used for all FDOL online spaces by gerard79, orginal available at sxc.hu > http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1008232

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