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TEL Learning FAQ

1. What is TEL Learning?

TEL Learning is a collection of free, openly licensed materials for general education courses. The library is created and maintained by TEL, a non-profit missional organization committed to providing equitable access to affordable college education to everyone in the U.S.

2. Who creates the course materials that appear in TEL Learning’s catalog?

TEL Learning course materials are designed and developed by TEL’s Curriculum Development team in partnership with qualified subject matter experts. Read more about TEL Learning Course Design.

3. Do you create your own content?

TEL Learning courses feature a combination of curated, openly licensed content and original content. We provide attribution to all curated content in a License and Citations section at the end of each lesson. Original content is written by Subject Matter Experts in each specific course area.

4. Can I really use these TEL Learning course materials for no cost?

Yes. TEL Learning course materials are free for you to use. We do not require that you give us any information to start learning with or sharing our course materials.

All TEL Learning course materials are available ia a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Creative Commons license. Under this license, you may view, download, share, print and adapt this Content for your personal and non-commercial use so long as the conditions of the license are met. See FAQ #7 for information about these conditions.

5. How can teachers or instructors use these course materials in their courses?

Whether you’re looking for topic-specific resources or a complete set of materials for your course(s), TEL Learning provides a quality, easy-to-use solution. Just follow the steps below.

Individual Course Resources

  • Step 1: Select a course from the TEL Learning catalog.
  • Step 2: Review the course contents using the course navigation menu.
  • Step 3: Navigate to specific lessons or lesson sections that you want to provide as resources for your course and copy the lesson URL.
  • Step 4: Paste the URL for the lesson you want to use as a resource into your course syllabus or course website. Students can also go to the TEL Learning catalog to access the course.

Complete Set of Course Materials

  • Step 1: Select a course from the TEL Learning catalog.
  • Step 2: Review the course contents using the course navigation menu.
  • Step 3: Copy the URL for the course home page and for specific modules and lessons you want students to complete.
  • Step 4: Paste the URL for the course content onto your course syllabus or course website for easy access by students. Students can also go to the TEL Learning catalog to access the course.

6. How can librarians use and share these course materials with their faculty?

Today, librarians are at the forefront of efforts to introduce affordable course materials into high school and college classes. To support their efforts, TEL Learning makes it easy to share courses and course lessons with faculty.


  • TEL Learning content uses a Creative Commons License, making it easier to understand how course materials may be used in faculty courses.
  • All TEL Learning course materials can be referenced by a direct URL, which can be added to OER LibGuides or other websites promoting free or more affordable course materials options.
  • In addition to making course materials available online through the TEL Learning website, we also provide downloadable PDF versions of all lesson content, including transcripts for video.
  • On request, TEL Learning can also provide detailed course outlines to facilitate work with faculty in mapping resources to their courses. These outlines include (1) a list of course lessons, (2) a list of topics associated with each lesson, (3) specific learning outcomes aligned to each lesson. Contact us for more information.

7. How are TEL Learning course materials licensed?

Unless otherwise stated, Content on this Website is licensed under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Creative Commons license. Under this license, you may view, download, share, print and adapt this Content for your personal and non-commercial use so long as the following conditions are met:

1. Give appropriate credit to TEL Learning as the original content creator, provide a link to the original content and license, and indicate if any changes were made.

2. The purpose of the use is for your personal use. TEL Learning Content is intended for non-commercial, educational use and may not be shared or adapted for commercial purposes.

3. Distribution under the same license as the original if you adapt, remix, or transform the original content. You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

When sharing or distributing original or adapted content, it is your responsibility to uphold the conditions of this license. TEL Learning reserves the right to prosecute violators of this license under the extent permissible by law. Review the full CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license here for additional terms and conditions.

8. How do I sign up for a course?

TEL Learning courses are offered free of charge and require no login. All courses and course lessons can be accessed via a direct URL. We do this to make it as easy as possible for people to learn and to share our content with others.

If you would like to take one of our courses for college credit and receive access to instruction, assignments, and assessments, go to our Courses on Demand page and get started right away.

9. Can I take TEL Learning courses for college credit?

Yes. With our Courses-on-Demand Program, you can enroll online to take TEL courses, which have been reviewed and approved for college credit by partner universities. You pay $200 per course for a 3-credit-hour course, which includes all course materials and instruction, as well as registration, technology and exam proctoring fees. Sales tax is included in the price. You can learn more here.

10. What’s the difference between free TEL Learning course materials and the college-credit (Courses on Demand) version?

TEL Learning’s free courses provide access to the learning materials for a college-level course. These course materials are available at no charge and do not include instruction, graded assignments, proctored exams, or formal course documents such as a syllabus.

TEL Learning Courses on Demand are available for college credit and are all-inclusive, meaning they contain all course materials, instruction, technology, and proctored exams.

Each TEL Learning college-credit course features between 60-70 lessons, quizzes, mastery assignments (with peer-review), and 2 proctored exams.

In addition, each of our Courses on Demand provides course meetups with the instructor, live and recorded special topic sessions, and access to course support via chat, phone, and email.

Each lesson in a TEL course contains:

  • A lesson introduction
  • A video overview of the lesson topics
  • Two reading sections
  • A reflective poll
  • A Check Your Knowledge quiz
  • A Resource Toolbox with links to optional study and research materials
  • A glossary
  • A downloadable PDF version of the lesson content

Each three-hour course represents approximately 135-150 hours of study.

11. What if I want to take one of your Courses on Demand but am not interested in receiving college credit?

You can take any of our Courses on Demand without the college-credit option for $99 each. You will have access to all course features, including instruction, support, assignments and assessments, but will not be eligible to register for or receive college credit for your work.

12. Does TEL Learning work with institutions and schools to deliver courses for college credit?

TEL Learning course materials are free to use for college and high school instructors, librarians, homeschool parents, and life-learners. Homeschool and independent learners can receive college credit for TEL Learning courses through our Our Courses on Demand program.

Institutions and schools looking to license TEL general education courses and services for their students may do so through TEL Education.

Something else on your mind? Contact us. 

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