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Online Teaching:
Accessibility and Inclusive Learning


Learn inclusive teaching strategies to support students with additional needs

Over 300,000 students declared a disability to a UK Higher Education Institution in 2018/19. Given these figures, almost all educators will engage with disabled students as a regular part of their work.

This microcredential will support you to understand, design and deliver online learning that is accessible and inclusive.

With the expert guidance of leading academics and global experts in The Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology, you’ll develop the pedagogical, technological, procedural and legal knowledge needed to enhance the accessibility of your online courses.

You'll apply your learning direct to your education practice, and ultimately develop an appreciation of the diverse study experiences of students with disabilities and additional needs, to ensure a successful, inclusive learning experience for all.

Key features

  • Delivered in partnership with the worldwide online learning platform, FutureLearn.
  • Created by leading academics and global experts in The Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology.
  • Develop skills that you can immediately apply to your own practice.
  • Opportunity to gain postgraduate-level academic credit in just 12 weeks.

Course summary

Study level
OU – Postgraduate
SCQF – 11
FHEQ – 7
12 weeks | 13 hours per week
Next start dates
15 March 2021
28 June 2021

What you’ll learn

This microcredential provides teachers and professionals working in education with the skills to understand, design, and deliver online learning that is accessible and inclusive.

Under the guidance of our online teaching experts at The Open University, you’ll develop the pedagogical, technological, procedural, and legal knowledge you need to enhance the accessibility of your online courses.

Discover the benefits of a blended learning approach

Although online teaching presents new challenges, online learning can provide a truly accessible and flexible mode of study with proper insight and planning.

This course will provide you with blended teaching strategies that combine the benefits of online study with face to face teaching.

You’ll explore how current technologies and emerging innovations are improving study for millions of learners with disabilities such as hearing impairments, visual impairments, speech, language and communication needs, and physical disabilities.

By supporting all students to study effectively using technology at a distance, you’ll learn how to mitigate the major challenges to teaching in an unpredictable world and create a more inclusive environment in your online classroom.

Improve your practice for teaching students with disabilities

From evaluating good examples of online learning practice to responding to feedback that learners have found elements of teaching inaccessible, you’ll explore inaccessible teaching examples from across all forms of education and discuss scenarios with broad applications.

The final assessment offers you the chance to improve the accessibility of materials or activities that you’ve created or that are relevant to your practice.

How do The OU champion improvements in equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)?

Education should be about creating opportunities for everyone.

According to HESA, 331,170 students (14%) declared a disability to a UK Higher Education Institution in 2018/19. Given these figures, almost all educators will engage with disabled students as a regular part of their work.

For over 20 years, The Open University has been teaching wholly online courses and supports over 20,000 students with declared disabilities every year.

You’ll benefit from the OU’s world-leading expertise in accessibility practice and research that underpins all of the principles and content covered in this course.

On this microcredential, you’ll cover topics including:

  • an introduction to online learning experiences of students with disabilities (diverse stories, benefits and challenges of learning online)
  • understanding accessibility – definitions, models, rationale and what this means in practice
  • how assistive technologies are used in online learning
  • current trends and innovations in assistive technologies
  • making common forms of learning material accessible
  • strategies of inclusive and universal design for learning
  • making online learning activities and assessments accessible
  • fulfilling our responsibilities – laws, policies and expectations in online accessibility
  • evaluating the accessibility of websites, platforms and tools
  • working with students - needs assessment and gathering and responding to accessibility feedback
  • institutional approaches to ensure online learning accessibility – roles, responsibilities, and stakeholders.

By the end of the course, you’ll have learnt how to:

  • design accessible learning materials and activities for online learning
  • evaluate the accessibility of websites, online platforms, and interactive tools
  • understand and apply Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
  • reflect on the common challenges and benefits that students with disabilities find with online learning
  • synthesise understanding of innovations in assistive technology to support learners in new and effective ways
  • lead and develop effective processes to achieve accessibility in educational institutions which meet legal and policy requirements.


The assessment will require you to develop an accessibility auditing approach suited to your context and apply this to a specific unit of teaching and learning. You'll suggest changes to that unit, providing a rationale and write a reflective commentary explaining the impact of the course on your professional or personal practice.

Professional relevance

This microcredential would benefit anyone currently working, or looking to work in, schools (particularly secondary education), colleges, universities, and workplace learning settings as a:

  • teacher
  • trainer
  • learning designer
  • educational technologist
  • head of department
  • institution leader and manager.

This course has a global focus and the skills you’ll learn will be relevant for learners from countries around the world.

It's highly relevant to those with responsibility for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in their department or institution.

On completion

You’ll receive an Open University certificate confirming that you have received 15 academic credits at postgraduate level 7. Credits are awarded on passing the final assessment.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.


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