Skip to main content

Keeping the doors of learning open COVID-19

COVID19_article_AUpdated 1 JUNE 2020

With an increasing number of states, provinces and even whole countries closing institutions of learning as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 70% of the world’s students are not attending school (UNESCO, 2020). COL stands ready to share its expertise and resources to enable stakeholders to keep the doors of learning open for all.

See COL’s statement on COVID-19.

Learn more about the International Partnership of Distance and Online Learning for COVID-19.

Since its establishment in 1987, COL has supported governments and educational institutions in the Commonwealth to establish robust distance teaching institutions and build competencies for quality online learning practices. Over the years, it has created many resources, including courses, policy briefs, how-to toolkits, as well as guidelines on online learning and related areas that are downloadable for use by policymakers, teachers and researchers around the globe.

In these unprecedented times, ODL can support learning in the non-formal and informal sectors, as well as the formal education sector. Below is a curated list of resources for policymakers, school and college administrators, teachers, parents and learners that will assist with student learning during the closure of educational institutions. Most of these are available as open educational resources with different licenses. The specific license conditions for reuse and remix are contained in the links.

Learning Resources
A. School level
B. TVET Institute/College/university level
C. COL resources

COL resources on online learning
A. Policy Briefs and Guides for policy-makers
B. Basic guides on online learning, blended learning, open textbooks
C. OER and MOOCs
D. Quality Assurance
E. Technology and Tools

Links and Resources from Other Organisations

Learning Resources

A. School level

  1. African Storybook: thousands of picture storybooks in African languages to improve literacy and imagination of children.
  2. CK-12 (Elementary and Secondary): learning resources in a variety of formats for K-12 grades.
  3. COL Resources (Secondary): 17 secondary school courses, at grade 10-12, specially designed for independent study.
  4. Khan Academy: materials from Grade 9 upwards to the first year in a college.
  5. MIT BLOSSOMS (Videos): Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math Studies (BLOSSOMS) is a series of interactive lessons presented in a widely accessible video format.
  6. OER Commons: a wide range of learning materials for different levels, including professional development resources for teachers and an authoring environment.
  7. OpenStax: a good starting point to avail quality textbooks. A printable version of textbooks can be accessed at OpenStax textbooks.
  8. PhET (Simulations for Science and Math): interactive simulations in science and mathematics from University of Colorado.
  9. Siyavula (Elementary and Secondary): learner book(s) and teacher’s guide(s) in English and Afrikaans.
  10. Storyweaver: over 19,000 stories to promote reading amongst kids available in 230 languages.

B. TVET Institute/College/university level

  1. BC Open Textbooks: over 300 textbooks on different subjects available in different formats.
  2. eCampus Ontario: a large number of learning resources from educational institutions in Ontario, Canada.
  3. LabXchange: an online community for learning, sharing, and collaboration.
  4. Lumen Courses (Tertiary): a range of courses in different disciplines, including from Carnegie Mellon University.
  5. MERLOT: a high-quality sharable online learning resources repository contributed by member institutions from around the world.
  6. MIT OpenCourseWare: OER repository from MIT on science, engineering and technology subjects. Started in 2001.
  7. National Open University of Nigeria, OpenCourseWare: e-courseware from the National Open University of Nigeria on many university-level courses.
  8. NPTEL, India: an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, this platform provides resources on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  9. OER Africa: learning materials on Agriculture, Foundation Skills, Health and Teacher Education developed for the African context.
  10. OERu Courses: a range of courses are available form accredited institutions for free.
  11. Open Course Library: a collection of sharable course materials at college level.
  12. OpenLearn: a free learning platform delivered by The Open University as part of its Royal Charter commitment to support the wellbeing of the community.
  13. Saylor Academy: over 100 full-length courses at college and professional levels.
  14. Skills Commons: supported by the US Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT), this platform provides learning resources for job-driven workforce development.
  15. SWAYAM, India: an initiative of Government of India, the platform offers university and school-level courses on a range of subjects.
  16. Virtual University of Pakistan, OpenCourseWare: 2012 award winning outstanding site by OE Global, provides opencourseware from Virtual University of Pakistan in a range of university-level subjects.
  17. Virtual University of the State of Sao Paulo: integrated platform to YouTube and OER repository available in Portuguese.

C. COL Resources

  1. COL Virtual Event Environment has over 100 courses on a range of subjects in technology, vocational education and higher education.
  2. COL’s Institutional Repository provides access to a large number of resources on online learning along with guides to help teachers plan, design, develop and offer quality online learning.
  3. Directory of Open Educational Resources has over 7000 resources on higher education, open schooling, teacher education and technical and vocational skills development.
  4. International Partnership of Distance and Online Learning for COVID19 offers a common gateway to pooled resources, shared expertise and online training to ODL institutions and organisations.
  5. OER4COVID is a global community support group for those making the transition to online learning using Open Educational Resources (OER) during the coronavirus pandemic.
  6. OER for Open Schooling has grade 10-12 textbooks in various subjects.
  7. Open Resources for English Language Teaching for classroom activities for teachers.
  8. Report to Commonwealth Education Ministers: from Response to Resilience. This brief to Ministers of Education provides examples of how governments and institutions made it possible for people to continue their education during the COVID-19 pandemic and identifies factors that contributed to success.
  9. “Teaching in a Digital Age,” a series of 12 videos with Dr Tony Bates based on key ideas from his seminal book “Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing Teaching and Learning”
COL Resources on Online Learning

A. Policy Briefs and Guides for policy-makers

  1. A Guide to Virtual Universities for Policy-Makers
  2. Policy Brief: Doctoral Study and Research Degrees: Online and Distance Programmes
  3. Policy Brief: Engineering Education: Online and Distance Programmes
  4. A Policy Brief on MOOCs
  5. Making Sense of MOOCs: A Guide for Policy-Makers in Developing Countries
  6. Guidelines on the Development of Open Educational Resources Policies

B. Basic guides on online learning, blended learning, open textbooks

  1. Designing Online Learning
  2. E-Learning: A Guidebook of Principles, Procedures and Practices
  3. Education for a Digital World: Advice, Guidelines and Effective Practice from Around Globe
  4. Guide to Blended Learning
  5. Guide to Developing Open Textbooks
  6. Guidelines for Online Assessment for Educators
  7. Pedagogical Innovations for Technology-Enabled Learning
  8. Increasing Access to Education for All Through Mobile Learning
  9. Designing and Implementing Micro-Credentials: A Guide for Practitioners
  10. Commonwealth Certificate for Teacher ICT Integration (CCTI) Course Modules

C. OER and MOOCs

  1. A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)
  2. Understanding Open Educational Resources
  3. OER for Open Schooling Teachers Guide
  4. Case Studies on OER-based eLearning
  5. Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education

D. Quality Assurance

  1. Blended Course Learnability Evaluation Checklist
  2. Quality in MOOCs: Surveying the Terrain
  3. Guidelines for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of MOOCs
  4. Quality Assurance Guidelines for Open Educational Resources: TIPS Framework
  5. Quality Assurance: Good Practices in ODL in Sub-Saharan Africa
  6. Transnational qualifications framework for the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth

E. Technology and Tools

  1. Creating and Repurposing OER Using FOSS: A How-To Guide for Teachers and Learners
  2. Creating, Using and Sharing Open Educational Resources
  3. Designing Learning Objects for Online Learning
  4. Interactive Learning Objects: Toolkit for Teachers and Learners
  5. A report on the Re-use and Adaptation of Open Educational Resources (OER): An Exploration of Technologies Available
Links and Resources from Other Organisations
  1. AECT’s response to the COVID-19 virus: with several lists of curated resources with expert commentaries for K-12 and higher education.
  2. Australian Government, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency: Online learning good practice
  3. CONTACT NORTH: Online Learning is a Way of Constraining the Spread of COVID19; also seeHow to Use Zoom Videoconferencing to Teach Online Effectively
  4. Coronavirus Tech Handbook: Tools for Universities and Schools: A community work in progress
  5. Creative Commons: Online Meeting Resources Toolkit for Facilitators
  6. EDUCAUSE: Online Teaching Strategies
  7. Guidance on Open Educational Practices during School Closures: Utilizing OER under COVID-19 Pandemic in line with UNESCO OER Recommendation” aims to show the implications of us­ing Open Educational Practices and Open Educational Resources on learning outcomes.
  8. Higher Ed Guidance During COVID-19: Teaching, Learning & Student Support: A community created hub
  9. Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University: offering two courses — (i) Be an Online Tutor in 24 Hours, and (ii) Design an Online Course in 24 Hours. Needs registration to access the courses.
  10. ICDE Page on Coronavirus
  11. MIT Teaching and Learning Lab: How to teach remotely
  12. National Institute for Digital Learning, DCU: Swiftly Moving to Teaching Online – Resource Bank
  13. Observatory of Educational Innovation: COVID-19 Free Educational Resources
  14. Open University of Sri Lanka: ODL Resources (COVID-19)
  15. OSOU initiative: Free for University & College Students provides free access to its learning resources and courses for three months.
  16. Personal Data Security Technical Guide for Online Education Platforms” outlines key recommendations to online education providers and relevant education and technical administrators.
  17. TDP@Scale Coalition for the Global South: Teacher’s Guide for Remote Learning During School Closures and Beyond
  18. Teaching Online: a Rapid Response Series, from Griffith University faculty Sarah Prestridge and Deniese Cox, with several short videos.
  19. The Ed Techie Blog: The online pivot – student perspective
  20. Thinking about Pedagogy in an Unfolding Pandemic, an independent report on approaches to distance learning during COVID-19 school closures.
  21. Tony Bates Blog: Advice to those about to teach online because of the corona-virus
  22. Training Industry: Training Companies Offering Free Products and Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic
  23. UNESCO: Distance Learning Solutions
  24. UNESCO-UNEVOC: OER in TVET Resource
  25. UNESCO-MGIEP: Essential Resources for COVID-19 includes resources on social and emotional learning for parents, teachers and students.
  26. University of Cape Town: CILT Teaching Online Portal, which also includes a Remote Teaching – Quick Guide.
  27. Wiley: Covid-19 online teaching resources
  28. World Bank: Remote Learning, EdTech & COVID-19

Latest COL News

COL hosts ODFL workshop in Zambia

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) recently hosted a workshop on quality assurance…

Read Full Article

Spring 2024 issue of Connections now available

Sign up to receive email updates from COL! The Commonwealth of Learning's…

Read Full Article

ODL policy framework for teacher training developed in Fiji

As part of its commitment to ensure high-quality teacher training and professional…

Read Full Article

Strengthening open schooling provision in sub-Saharan Africa

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has been supporting open schooling initiatives in…

Read Full Article

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now