FDOL131 – About

FDOL131 was offered from Feb – May 13

We are making this version of the course available here for anybody who would like to use it.

FDOL is for course designers, Educational Developers, Learning Technologists, Teachers in HE who would like to learn more about 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 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 who would like to work within small groups will be able to do this through COOL FISh, a PBL framework under development for open courses. We know that some would say that groups have no place in networks. We are open to give it a go as we have the curiosity to find out if or how learning relationships could be nurtured in groups so that they could lead indivuduals become networked learners. Others might prefer to carry out their enquiry on their own or through initiating connections themselves. 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? We estimate between 3-5 hours depending on the level of engagement. 


  • to promote learners’ critical engagement with key theoretical principles and perspectives, current issues and relevant technologies related to flexible, distance and online learning in .
  • to develop learners’ understanding and critical reflection on online learning, through active engagement in online cross-cultural experiences.
  • to develop relevant online skills and examine germane approaches to enable and enhance creative and contemporary learning experiences for student learning within their own professional context.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding of

  1. Review principles, processes, benefits and challenges in online collaborative distance and flexible learning in higher education
  2. Evaluate models and strategies to support online learning in cross-cultural contexts
  3. Demonstrate critical awareness of benefits and challenges of open practices in own professional context

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

The open FDOL course has been developed by two educational developers Chrissi Nerantzi in collaboration with Lars Uhlin. The organisers are evaluating this pilot and plan to disseminate findings through conference contributions and publications. We are also interested in exploring opportunities for cross-institutional collaborations in the future.

Please get in touch with Chrissi or Lars at openfdol@gmail.com or via Twitter at @openfdol if you are interested in any of the above.

FDOL organisers

Chrissi Nerantzi, Academic Developer,  Twitter: @chrissinerantzi

Lars Uhlin, Educational Developer, Twitter: @laruhl

PBL facilitators
Chrissi Nerantzi, Academic Developer, Twitter: @chrissinerantzi

Lars Uhlin, Educational Developer, Twitter: @laruhl

Maria Kvarnström, Educational Developer, PhD, Twitter: @mariakvarnstrom

Chrissi Nerantzi is a PhD student in open learning at Edinburgh Napier University and used this pilot of the Flexible, Distance and Online Learning course to test some of her ideas around collaborative learning.

FDOL started on the 11th of February (@openfdol #FDOL131) and finished on the 7th of May 2013

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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