Kate Lister, content lead for the microcredential and the OU’s Learning & Teaching Development Manager

The latest in a suite of short online courses to help get learning and teaching online has been launched by The @OpenUniversity (OU) on its @FutureLearn platform.

Teacher Development: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum follows hot on the heels of two earlier short accredited courses – called microcredentials – by the OU which respond and support the hasty pivot to go online taken by individual educators, trainers and learning institutions around the globe.

Designed by Open University global experts, and endorsed by The Mental Health Foundation, the course will equip learners with skills in designing teaching, learning and assessment activities to meet the needs of learners experiencing issues such as low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, social anxiety and feelings of not belonging.

Course participants will learn how to raise awareness of mental health issues through the curriculum and how to cover sensitive topics in teaching activities – helping young people develop resilience in the modern world.

Skills they can learn from the course include designing online learning that supports learner wellbeing, building learner communities and supporting positive relationships as well as selecting educational technologies that support mental health and identifying barriers to mental health and wellbeing.

This Post Graduate course has a broad scope to address some of the mental health issues that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic, including those connected with the move in some sectors to online teaching.

Dr Leigh-Anne Perryman, academic lead on microcredentials at the OU, said:

“Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum is needed more now than ever. Student stress and anxiety has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic and educators have been struggling with new teaching methods when required to move from face-to-face to online delivery.

“This has left little time to focus on how students’ mental health is affected by the curriculum. Our course looks at how educators in all sectors can make sure that their teaching and assessment activities support, rather than undermine learners’ wellbeing and how supportive learner communities can be developed, both offline and online.”

Kate Lister, content lead for the microcredential and the OU’s Learning & Teaching Development Manager (Accessibility), said:

“Creating wellbeing strategies from the outset, and proactively embedding wellbeing in teaching and learning, is essential for student success. Research shows that barriers to mental wellbeing exist in many different aspects of learning, and that even small things can have a critical impact on student mental wellbeing and study success. However, if learning is designed with wellbeing in mind, it can be a positive and transformative experience for students’ mental health.”

The 15-credit course covers both face-to-face and online teaching and will be of benefit to those already in careers in schools (particularly secondary education), universities, colleges or adult learning or those looking to begin a career in these settings, such as:

  • Teachers
  • Trainers
  • Lecturers
  • Learning Designers
  • Educational Technologists
  • Heads of Department
  • Institution leaders and managers

Teacher Development: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum (HZFM883) is open for registrations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and The Open University’s commitment to support best practice for teaching and learning online, the price of this course is temporarily reduced from £675 to £475, a saving of £200. The next start date of the course is 19th October 2020.

Other OU microcredentials in this suite are the 12-week microcredential, Online Teaching: Evaluating and Improving Courses and the initial Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners. Each course can be done in tandem with the suite or as a standalone course.

The global online learning market is projected to be worth $325 Billion by 2025. Moves towards blended learning coupled with COVID-19 social distancing measures driving teaching online, mean that studying online is not only becoming commonplace but also being integrated into traditional teaching methods.

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