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Open University resources

Everyday computer skills (16 hours) is a collaboration between Lead Scotland and the OU in Scotland, with funding from SCVO’s Digital Participation Fund. It’s a digital skills course for beginners, designed with and for disabled people. It covers all you need to know to get online using your computer, tablet or phone, with a focus on accessibility and online safety.


Open University Widening Access and Lifelong Learning Journal

Caring Counts is an OU in Scotland course co-created with carers and carers organisations. It’s intended to help carers reflect on their caring role, and the skills and experiences they’ve gained through it that are transferable to other contexts. It’s particularly useful for carers at a transition, who may be considering returning to work or study. It can be studied online or facilitated as a group course (there’s a guide provided) – which many carers organisations around Scotland have done.

Carers scholarships – the OU is now offering scholarships to carers and young adult carers beginning their studies with them. The criteria for this is that you must have a household income of less than £25k per year. In Scotland, the SAAS part-time fee grant covers module costs for anyone with a personal income of less than £25k. That means that Scottish carers won’t benefit from the scholarship in the same way as their counterparts in other parts of the UK so OU in Scotland will not be promoting it. The good news is that they can study with the OU for free anyway, as 70% of OU students are eligible for the part-time fee grant.

Refugees and asylum seekers
Reflecting on Transitions is an OU in Scotland course co-created with refugees, asylum seekers and other new Scots, in partnership with Bridges Programmes in Glasgow. The course can help learners identify the range of skills and abilities you’ve gained from their personal experiences and plan their next steps into work or study.

OpenLearn has developed a collection for Refugee Week called Understanding Refugee Experiences including a section on Resources for refugees

FutureLearn runs regular ESOL courses by the British Council. Understanding IELTS: Reading is available now (free, 3 weeks long). Understanding IELTS: Listening begins on 6 July.

The RefER project identified a range of online resources for refugee learners and those supporting them. You can read the report here or access the interactive document with links to those resources.

If you are using open educational resources with refugees and asylum seekers, you or your learners are invited to share your experiences on the Refugee Learning Stories blog. This is an open space, so anyone is welcome to contribute and posts can be anonymous if you prefer. There are some interesting posts for you to browse – from using Whatsapp as a language learning tool to university scholarships for asylum seekers in Dublin.

The Scottish Refugee Council has produced a short film called I Hear You for Word Refugee Day 2020

Anti-racism resources
Very topical at the moment and of critical importance to educators, many anti-racism resources are being made available for free just now. The Service Design in Scotland Network has compiled an interactive Padlet of resources called Black Lives in Scotland. You can explore links to resources or contribute to the Padlet yourself.

OpenLearn resources

Collection of mental health and wellbeing resources
Family friendly hub
Furloughed workers resources (in partnership with My World of Work)
Taking your teaching online
Open Pathways – an interactive guide for learners beginning their journey on OpenLearn

Managing your money for young adults (24 hours) is a course aimed at young people moving away from home to work or study. It comes with guidance for teachers on adapting for the classroom.

Making your learning count is a 30 credit module that allows you to gain credit for OpenLearn course and other informal learning.

Bullying and Manipulation: Join the Resistance interactive resource exploring bullying at work, school and even on Twitter at the hands of Donald Trump.

Citizen science and the data avalanche series of videos on how to become a citizen scientist

Climate justice for the next generation (7 hours, intermediate level) a new course that frames global warming and climate change in terms of social justice, human rights and intergenerational equality and emphasises how children and those least responsible for climate change are the ones who suffer its most significant consequences.

How to talk about race short video talking about race with comedian Munya Chawawa. A BBC / Open University collaboration.

Employability Resources

In partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the OpenLearn team has curated a collection of employability and digital skills resources, as well as functional English and Maths:

Internships and other work experiences (24 hours) is a brand new course for those who want to learn more about internships and other work experience options available, and explore how you can obtain and maximise the right opportunities to support your chosen career.

Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world (24 hours) is a new version of the existing ‘Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world’ course with updated content reflecting changes in the digital landscape over the last few years.

Start your career with OpenLearn is a collection aimed at people leaving education and looking for some career support.

Covid-related resources

Coping in isolation: time to think – course trailer a short video for the course in which two Open University graduates reflect on the current COVID-19 lockdown. They offer some insights into their study experiences while imprisoned in the 1970s and 1980s, and suggest ways to adjust to the current pressures facing people across the globe.

Young carers, COVID-19 and physical activity article outlining an Open University study around carers and their relationship with physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open Learning Champions Update

During the first lockdown, OpenLearn saw a huge surge of learners – from an average of 40,000 a day to more than 200,000. From the end of March to the end of July, learners completed an astonishing 790,000 courses and gained 69,000 badges. OpenLearn has curated collections of resources that many found helpful during lockdown and are unfortunately still relevant:

Collection of mental health and wellbeing resources
Family friendly hub
Furloughed workers resources (in partnership with My World of Work)
Taking your teaching online

Some of your learners may have received laptops or tablets through the Connecting Scotland scheme. If they are looking to improve their digital skills, Everyday computer skills (16 hours) is a course for absolute beginners, designed with and for disabled people. It covers all you need to know to get online using your computer, tablet or phone, with a focus on accessibility and online safety. The course is a collaboration between Lead Scotland and the OU in Scotland, with funding from SCVO’s Digital Participation Fund.

Open Pathways is a resource to help learners plan their journeys – from dipping their toes into OpenLearn to registering for formal study. You can use it to support learners to access online learning at the level that’s right for them. There is an accompanying guide for Open Learning Champions with ideas for using resources with learners.

Care Experience
If you’d like to learn more about the impact of care experience on access to education, and the role of corporate parents, we have produced a new online resource in partnership with Who Cares? Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council, universities and colleges. Corporate Parenting in Higher Education takes 1-2 hours to complete and is based on the lived experience of care-experienced students. It has optional activities and opportunities to reflect on your role in improving outcomes for care-experienced students and you can gain a digital badge.


Black History Month
OpenLearn has created a Black History Month hub featuring articles and courses on Black history, notable people and the Black Lives Matter movement.
How to talk about race is a short video by comedian Munya Chawawa. A BBC / Open University collaboration.


Sustainability Hub
Another new hub on OpenLearn features articles, course and interactive content related to sustainability, climate change, ecosystems and the natural world.

FutureLearn – available now
Most FutureLearn courses are free to access but there may be a fee if you would like the option of a certificate to recognise your participation.
A Global History of Sex and Gender: Bodies and Power in the Modern World (4 weeks) – University of Glasgow
Caring for Vulnerable Children (6 weeks) – University of Strathclyde / CELCIS
Introduction to Cyber Security (8 weeks) – Open University

Open Learning Champions
Well done to all of you who have managed to support learners through unprecedented times, sometimes while you and they grappled with unfamiliar technology. We hope these mailings have helped a wee bit. As a thank you to all our champions, please accept our Open Learning Champions badge (jpeg file attached) to ‘wear’ with pride!


OLC workshops
It may be a while before we can meet face to face but we are beginning to offer online Open Learning Champions sessions (1.5 hours). If your organisation would like to host one, please get in touch.

Remember to follow @OUScotland and @OUfreelearning on Twitter for updates and tweet us using #OLchamps


Stand Alone

Stand Alone

Stand Alone has developed a set of resources to help staff and students reach out to estranged students. These can be downloaded at:

StandAlone Resources

Contact Susan Mueller for further information about Stand Alone resources
Susan Mueller
HE Director
Stand Alone

Twitter @StandAloneHE and @UKStandAlone


College of Sanctuary Resource Pack

On 2  February 2021, City of Sanctuary hosted an online launch event for the new College of Sanctuary Resource Pack which outlines the process of becoming recognised with a Sanctuary Award, and includes case studies from campuses across the UK. Around 55 attendees participated in the Zoom event, including colleagues from the  Scottish Further Education sector.

City of Sanctuary plans to hold a Scotland-specific launch with the support of the College Development Network soon.

The launch had presentations from Marguerite Hogg from the Association of Colleges, Paul Vincent from Gower College Swansea and Abdulraham Sanhat, a former FE College student who is current at University, who reflected on the challenges he faced in accessing education, and why it is so important for educational institutions to foster supportive, welcoming environments on campus.

For further information about the College of Sanctuary stream and to express interest in joining the steering group, please contact Sara Trewhitt at
Click here for the full recording of the event and about the resource pack