Determine your path

Invited students and Independent Learners take different paths in OLI. Use the information below to help you determine which kind of student you are.

Independent learners take self-paced OLI courses with no instructors. Most are Open & Free, but some have a small fee to cover the cost of the assessments. Course Key students are in instructor-led courses. Follow this link to register with your course key in your OLI course.

FAQ: Course Key vs. Independent learners

“My teacher is using OLI instead of a textbook, but I don’t have a Course Key. Am I in the right place?”2018-05-01T12:35:55-04:00


We’re not sure, but you’re probably not a Course Key student. Here are the steps we suggest you take to clarify your situation:

  1. Consult your teacher and/or your class materials. Do you have a Course Key and instructions for using it? If not, ask your teacher for help.
  2. Instead of Course Keys, some teachers choose to have students use a single sign-on link in your school’s Learning Management System (LMS) — the website where you sign in to get your class materials and assignments. Check your syllabus or ask your teacher whether your OLI course uses a Course Key or a single sign-on link in your LMS.
  3. Sometimes teachers send their students to the OLI website for free supplemental material. In that case, you should follow the independent learner path because you have neither a Course Key nor a single sign-on link in your LMS.
“I am an independent student, but I want to take an OLI course for college credit. Can I do that?”2018-05-01T12:27:05-04:00


You can’t earn credit directly from OLI. OLI isn’t a school and doesn’t have teachers. We provide scientifically researched tools and learning materials to help students learn more effectively. OLI offers a few paid courses that include tests, but students are not granted college credit or certification upon completion.

“I already accessed my teacher’s OLI course, but I can’t reach it anymore. OLI won’t let me reset my password.”2018-05-01T12:32:15-04:00


Your OLI course is probably not accessed on the OLI website by signing in with an account ID and a password. Please check your school’s learning management system (LMS) — such as Blackboard, Canvas, Desire2Learn, etc. — and look for a single sign-on link that takes you directly to your OLI materials without an OLI account.

“My question isn’t listed here, but I still need help.”2018-05-01T13:05:49-04:00


Most of the time your question is addressed in your syllabus or class information, so it’s recommended you consult your teacher and/or the class information where you sign in to your school’s learning management system (for example, Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle, Desire2Learn, etc.).

If you don’t have a teacher, check the OLI Knowledge Base. If you still cannot find an answer to your question, use the “New support ticket” process to email OLI Support.

Student resources

OLI Website:
New look and
New student registration process

OLI’s website has undergone a refresh, and so has the student registration process. Watch the video to see how easily students can register with a Course Key.

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