Students access OLI course materials from or from a link in an integrated LMS (Learning Management System such as Blackboard or Canvas).  

Note: If the course is accessed via the integrated LMS course then students cannot access via, and vice versa. The roster is either managed at or from the LMS course, not both for the same course.

Accessing OLI from your Learning Management System (single sign-on)

For more information on setting up LMS integration for a new course, see Integrating with an LMS for Single Sign-On.

Once the LMS integration for the course is in place, students access the OLI materials only from the link set up for them from the LMS course and never need go to or enter a separate OLI Account ID. Students do not use a Course Key as access is directly from the LMS course.

Direct students to Accessing OLI Without a Course Key for detailed instructions.

For general communications with students, the following describes how students should access OLI.

Your OLI course is only accessed through your school's link set up by your instructor. 

  1. Sign in to your school’s system, 
  2. In your class, follow the link to OLI straight to your course materials.
  3. Don't attempt to access your course through or follow a bookmark/link to inside your course.
  4. You don't need or have a separate Account ID or password to access your OLI materials.

Accessing OLI courses using a Course Key (website login)

For OLI courses accessed directly from, students use an instructor-provided Course Key to enroll in your course.

Provide the Course Key and direct students to (or Creating an OLI student account and Registering with a Course Key for instructions).

  1. Course Key
    Instructors create each OLI course's Course Key while setting up the course. Give this to your students, so they can use it to register on the webpage 
    Using the correct Course Key ensures each student appears in the correct gradebook, roster, discussion board, etc. Be sure to give them the course key to this semester's course.

  2. Creating an Account
    Next the students create their website accounts. If they already have an account they can sign in.
  3. Payment
    OLI accounts for students and instructors are free. There is no fee for creating courses. Several courses have instituted a per-student maintenance fee for each enrollment. These costs help to offset the significant costs of course upkeep, technical support, and new development. These fees are kept as low as possible and are not designed to be a barrier. If the fees present a barrier to any students, please contact us to discuss options.
    Communicate to students about any applicable course fees. Students will be prompted to process payment via credit card through Carnegie Mellon’s on-line payment system when enrolling in the course. Some schools have OLI Payment Codes available through their bookstores as an alternate form of payment.
    OLI's generous refund policy provides full refunds to any student who drops the course within the specified drop period upon request.

  4. System Test
    Direct students to the System Test page from the My Courses page or at the top of the OLI Syllabus page. While current default browsers are usually set up to access all of the OLI course content, there may be exceptions or additional technical needs for specific courses.