Open Networked Learning (ONL172)

This course addresses course designers, educational developers, learning technologists and teachers in higher education. It presents opportunities to explore a multitude of aspects of Open Networked Learning with colleagues from around the world in a multidisciplinary and cross-cultural context.

ONL is offered by Luleå University of Technology (LTU), the Unit for Medical Education (UME) at Karolinska Institutet (KI), the Division for Higher Education Development (AHU) at Lund University (LU), Linnaeus University (LNU) and Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) jointly. Since spring 2016, Varsity College, South Africa, also collaborated with us in the course, and other collaborations are under discussion.

The course is given in two different formats; as an open course freely available on the Internet (register as an open learner here) and as an institutional course, see below.

ONL as an institutional course offered by Luleå University of Technology

In addition to attending the ONL course as open learners, the participating institutions offer their teachers to participate in the course as a continuation course in higher education pedagogy equivalent to two weeks of full-time work, i.e. 80 hours.

Learning aim and outcomes

The course aims for participants to explore and gain experience from collaborative, open online learning in order to understand the value, possibilities and challenges of using digital tools to support teaching and learning. The objective of the course is for the participant to acquire knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities in order to make her/him able to:

• explain, discuss and assess different aspects of eLearning such as digital literacy, collaborative, open and online learning.

• critically reflect on questions concerning eLearning related to own teaching practice.

Course design

ONL utilizes open, collaborative learning practices, a problem-based learning (PBL) format and aims to build personal learning networks. The course models the use of freely available social media tools and a platform that does not require extensive technical expertise to be mastered and implemented. The focus is on how available digital technologies can support course design and extend opportunities for collaboration, engagement and learning.

The content of the course is divided into a number of topics, each covering one or two weeks.

  • Online participation and digital literacies

  • Open learning ‐ sharing & openness

  • Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning

  • Design for online and blended learning

  • Lessons learnt ‐ future practice

Course realisation

Participants from different contexts and disciplines interact in an open course community but are also divided and mixed into PBL groups of approximately 5-8 learners. The work within the PBL groups is focused around the weekly/biweekly topic and a suggested scenario and is based on the idea of collaborative learning. Each group has weekly synchronous, online meetings and also collaborate asynchronously using digital tools. Digital artifacts produced by the groups are shared within the course community. All PBL groups are facilitated by a teacher from either of the collaborating institutions.

LTU participants meet also in campus-group for a few occasions during the 10 weeks. A start-up session is planned on the 19th of September between 9-12, and an extra curriculum workshop to get everything going for the 28th of September.

Participants write individual reflections to summarize the work for each topic as it relates to their own practice and as one intention about the course is to build a learning community within LTU, we will support each other through peer feedback on these reflections during the course.


For course certification, the following is required:

  • active participation in the PBL group

    • participation in group work both synchronously and asynchronously, taking responsibility for tasks, creating presentations, giving feedback to colleagues etc.

    • please note that lack of presence here cannot be made up for afterwards

  • writing a reflective blog posts for each course topic

    • with focus on experiences from ONL and one’s own development, challenges, learning, practice etc

    • approx. 400‐500 words each

    • should relate to pedagogical theory and literature and include references to literature/resources

  • commenting to blog posts by peers, at least once for each topic.

  • a short summary/compilation of activities and engagement during the course by using the ONL “activity tracking” form.

Entry requirements

Having studied basic higher education pedagogy, Basic course 1, Basic course 2 or equivalent, corresponding to the Qualifying Course for University Teachers at LTU, is recommended but not necessary to participate.

Course literature and resources

The course builds upon open educational resources, all of which are available through the course website Additional resources are collected and shared by course participants on the website.


Course period: This course will not be given Spring 2018

Equivalent to 80 hours: two weeks of full time studies

Number of participants: 6