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Myth making at the movies - Musings on Mad Max: Fury Road

Myth making at the movies - Musings on Mad Max: Fury Road Creative commons image Credit: tricks ware under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0 licence New content
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 27 May 2015
The film Mad Max: Fury Road is set in the dystopian furture, but is the narrative a recycled story from Roman and Greek times? N.B. contains...

Parlez-vous Eurovision?

Parlez-vous Eurovision? Creative commons image Credit: Ngo Quang Minh under CC-BY-NC-2.0 licence New content
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 22 May 2015
As English-language songs dominate the Eurovision Song Contest in its 60th anniversary, this article explores why so many of the songs are sung in...

'We all look forward to it': The social value of a festival in the town

'We all look forward to it': The social value of a festival in the town Copyrighted image Credit: Paul Bishop | Dreamstime.com New content
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 14 May 2015
Does a festival have social value? Does it bring social bonding or does it cause social division? Dr Linda Wilks investigates. 

International Jazz Day

Featuring: AudioAudio
International Jazz Day
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 29 Apr 2015
Let us inject a bit of jazz into your day as we celebrate International Jazz Day today (30 April).

Integration: different logics and local factors

Integration: different logics and local factors Creative commons image Credit: Gary Edwards
Introductory level Duration 15 mins Updated 29 Apr 2015
In his second piece on immigration, Steve Garner dispels the common misconceptions and confusions in the debate on 'integration'.

Is democracy a good thing?

Is democracy a good thing? Creative commons image Credit: Radub85 | Dreamstime.com
Intermediate level Duration 10 mins Updated 27 Apr 2015
Is democracy the best way to select who runs our country? Is it unequivocally a good thing? Professor Derek Matravers discusses Plato's argument...

The Evolution of English debate

The Evolution of English debate Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University
Introductory level Duration 30 mins Updated 21 Apr 2015
The 23rd April marks English language day 2015; we look at what has been the biggest influence on the English language over the past 100 years...

What does it mean to be me?

Featuring: VideoVideo
What does it mean to be me? Copyrighted image Credit: BBC
Intermediate level Duration 30 mins Updated 17 Apr 2015
Watch these short and snappy animations on the subject of me: the individual, memory, 'self' and existential ideas.

OU on the BBC: A History of Ideas - Descartes Cogito Ergo Sum

Featuring: VideoVideo
OU on the BBC: A History of Ideas - Descartes Cogito Ergo Sum Copyrighted image Credit: The BBC
Intermediate level Duration 5 mins Updated 14 Apr 2015
Stephen Fry explains Rene Descartes argument 'Cogito Ergo Sum' - 'I think, therefore I am'. 

The late-modern hipster

The late-modern hipster Copyright free image Credit: Cheryl18
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 10 Apr 2015
Unloved and shunned by sociologists. Bjørn Schiermer considers the plight of the elaborately bearded youth cult.

Free OpenLearn courses.
OU course extracts and exclusive free courses

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An introduction to music theory

Free CourseFree Course
An introduction to music theory Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 8 hours Updated 29 Apr 2015
Gain an understanding of the basic building blocks of musical theory and notation. This free course, An introduction to music theory, will...

Writing what you know

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: AudioAudio
Writing what you know Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 8 hours Updated 15 Apr 2015
Do you want to improve your descriptive writing? This free course, Writing what you know, will help you to develop your perception of the world...

Start writing fiction

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: AudioAudio
Start writing fiction Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 12 hours Updated 25 Mar 2015
Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into...

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?...

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,...

Approaching poetry

Free CourseFree Course
Approaching poetry Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Intermediate level Duration 20 hours Updated 11 Dec 2013
Do you want to get more out of your reading of poetry? This unit is designed to develop the analytical skills you need for a more in-depth study of...

Art and Visual Culture: Medieval to Modern

Free CourseFree Course
Art and Visual Culture: Medieval to Modern
Intermediate level Duration 10 hours Updated 21 Nov 2013
What is art? What is visual culture? How have they changed through history? This unit explores the fundamental issues raised by the study of...

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Change your life with a qualification

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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 27 May 2015
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 3600 hours Updated 27 May 2015
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 27 May 2015
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 27 May 2015
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 27 May 2015
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 27 May 2015
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 27 May 2015
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 27 May 2015
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) 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 27 May 2015
This degree course offers a stimulating and wide-ranging introduction to English language and literature. You’ll have the opportunity to...

BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 27 May 2015
Where do social order (and disorder) come from? How can we make ourselves richer, and does society always gain? What does justice mean, how do we...