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What makes a great Christmas number one?

What makes a great Christmas number one? Creative commons image Credit: Paul Conneally under CC-BY-NC-2.0 licence New content
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 15 Dec 2014
What do the Christmas chart-topping songs by Mr Blobby, Rage Against the Machine and Band Aid all have in common?

What have big meals got to do with Christmas?

What have big meals got to do with Christmas? Copyrighted image Credit: New content
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 15 Dec 2014
We take a look at why feasting, giving gifts and spreading cheer goes hand in hand with the festive season. 

Why the message of The Hunger Games films is dangerous

Why the message of The Hunger Games films is dangerous Copyrighted image Credit: Lionsgate New content
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 10 Dec 2014
The mass uprising against a tyrannical regime depicted in The Hunger Games is a reality in some countries, but can the results be devastating? 

Why I'd say yes, yes, yes to the Bad Sex award

Why I'd say yes, yes, yes to the Bad Sex award Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime New content
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 08 Dec 2014
Is there a magic ingredient to writing good sex scenes? 

Speaking Shakespeare: How was Shakespeare pronounced when he was writing?

Featuring: VideoVideo
Speaking Shakespeare: How was Shakespeare pronounced when he was writing? Copyrighted image Credit: Production team
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 02 Dec 2014
How do we know what actors sounded like when they performed premieres of Shakespeare plays? The clues, as ever, are in the lines themselves...

2013 International Radio Playwriting Competition

2013 International Radio Playwriting Competition Copyrighted image Credit: Photochecker | Dreamstime.com
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 28 Nov 2014
The winners of the competition have been announced. Find out more and explore drama and dramatists with OpenLearn.

Why are things beautiful?

Community contributionCommunity contribution
Why are things beautiful? Copyrighted image Credit: BBC
Intermediate level Duration 30 mins Updated 21 Nov 2014
The concept of beauty is explored in these short animations. 

Interstellar: a dangerous fantasy of US colonialism?

Interstellar: a dangerous fantasy of US colonialism? Copyrighted image Credit: Lagron49 | Dreamstime.com - Anne Hathaway Photo
Updated 19 Nov 2014
Anne Hathaway's space movie puts engineers and scientists at the heart of the story - but is let down by an American colonialist message, says...

What does it mean to be free?

What does it mean to be free? Copyrighted image Credit: BBC
Intermediate level Duration 30 mins Updated 14 Nov 2014
These series of animations explore the question: what does it mean to be free? 

Free OpenLearn courses.
Free extracts from OU course materials

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Library of Alexandria

Free CourseFree Course
Library of Alexandria Updated content
Masters level Duration 7 hours Updated 11 Dec 2014
One of the most important questions for any student of the ancient world to address is ‘how do we know what we know about antiquity?’ Whether we’re...

Looking at, describing and identifying objects

Free CourseFree Course
Looking at, describing and identifying objects Copyrighted image Credit: © The Trustees of the British Museum. Updated content
Introductory level Duration 2 hours Updated 10 Dec 2014
This unit will enable you to practise and develop your skills of observation and description of objects. It will also enable you to interpret...

The moral equality of combatants

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: AudioAudio
The moral equality of combatants
Advanced level Duration 16 hours Updated 03 Dec 2014
The unit introduces and explores the idea of the moral equality of combatants and discusses the question of the basis of liability to killing in...

Visions of protest: Graffiti

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo
Visions of protest: Graffiti
Introductory level Duration 8 hours Updated 18 Nov 2014
This unit introduces students to contrasting understandings of graffiti. It draws on a wide range of different examples of graffiti, including...

An introduction to material culture

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo
An introduction to material culture Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 2 hours Updated 24 Sep 2014
This unit is an introduction to the study of material culture. It asks why we should study things and outlines some basic approaches to studying...

Musée du Louvre

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo
Musée du Louvre Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Intermediate level Duration 4 hours Updated 27 Aug 2014
The Musée du Louvre houses 35,000 works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but how were they brought together as a collection?...

Start writing fiction alumni forum

Free CourseFree Course
Start writing fiction alumni forum
Introductory level Duration 1 hour Updated 23 Jun 2014
The Start writing fiction alumni forum encourages the insightful discussions and topical debates with other learners.

Making sense of art history

Free CourseFree Course
Making sense of art history Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 5 hours Updated 17 Mar 2014
In this unit you’ll explore art history. Look around you, it’s likely that wherever you are you’ll be able to see some images, it’s also likely...

Studying the arts and humanities

Free CourseFree Course
Studying the arts and humanities Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 4 hours Updated 20 Feb 2014
This unit is an introduction to studying the arts and humanities. It takes you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to...

Veiling

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo AudioAudio
Veiling
Intermediate level Duration 10 hours Updated 22 Jan 2014
This unit explores controversies associated with the practice of ‘veiling’ within Islam. The Islamic ‘veil', be it in the form of the hijab, niqab,...

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Certificate of Higher Education Open

CourseCourse
Certificate of Higher Education Open Copyrighted image Credit: Irochka | Dreamstime.com Updated content
Duration 1200 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
If you’re keen to try university study and want to keep your options open, this certificate course is ideal. It’s part of our unique Open...

BA/BSc Open degree

CourseCourse
BA/BSc Open degree Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 3000 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
Over 40 per cent of OU students who graduate do so with an Open degree. It’s a statistic we’re proud of – the BA/BSc Open is one of the most...

Certificate of Higher Education in Humanities

CourseCourse
Certificate of Higher Education in Humanities Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 1200 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
Why study the arts? Apart from sheer enjoyment, these subjects give you an enormous breadth of cultural literacy while training you to think and...

BA (Honours) Humanities

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) Humanities Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University / Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
This degree in humanities offers a broad-based grounding in the study and enjoyment of the arts and humanities – covering a fascinating variety of...

Diploma of Higher Education in Humanities

CourseCourse
Diploma of Higher Education in Humanities Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
The Diploma of Higher Education in Humanities will help you refine your skills of debate and analysis while developing your cultural literacy. It...

BA (Honours) Philosophy and Psychological Studies

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) Philosophy and Psychological Studies Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University/Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
Philosophy and psychology seek to answer profound questions about us, our minds, our behaviour, and our place in the social and physical universe....

Diploma of Higher Education Open

CourseCourse
Diploma of Higher Education Open Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University / Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
Studying at university level is not just about gaining a degree. We also offer a range of other qualifications, including Certificates and Diplomas...

BA (Honours) English Literature

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) English Literature Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University / Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
English literature is a broad and accessible subject that is important in its own right and offers connections to a wide range of other kinds of...

BA (Honours) History

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) History Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University/Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
With this degree course you will develop and deepen your knowledge of different periods of history from antiquity to the twentieth century....

BA (Honours) English Language and Literature

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) English Language and Literature Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University / Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 19 Dec 2014
This degree course offers a stimulating and wide-ranging introduction to English language and literature. You’ll have the opportunity to...