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Blackhat, dark night: Could hackers really cause a power outage?

Blackhat, dark night: Could hackers really cause a power outage? Creative commons image Credit: Eva Rinaldi under CC-BY-SA licence
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 25 Feb 2015
Although the nuclear meltdown depicted in Blackhat is fiction, Mike Richards warns there are other ways those with bad intentions could switch our...

Past-Time Lover: Amelia Earhart

Past-Time Lover: Amelia Earhart Copyrighted image Credit: Neil Arnold
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 12 Feb 2015
This article is part of a collection produced for Valentine’s Day. Who would you select for your Valentine from these iconic figures from history?...

Mass surveillance will never be able to stop all known terrorists

Mass surveillance will never be able to stop all known terrorists Copyright free image Credit: Memorycatcher via Pixabay
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 13 Jan 2015
The government believes mass surveillance can keep us safe from harm. Ray Corrigan suggests those plans need a closer look.

Blaming Facebook for Lee Rigby’s murder is nonsense

Blaming Facebook for Lee Rigby’s murder is nonsense Copyrighted image Credit:
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 27 Nov 2014
Scapegoating Facebook for the murder of Lee Rigby is wrong and is being used for political gains, writes Ray Corrigan.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! Creative commons image Credit: Wikimedia
Introductory level Duration 15 mins Updated 14 Oct 2014
An intriguing story of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and their role in the 19th century development of the computer.

Radar: What happened next?

Radar: What happened next? Copyright free image Credit: Public domain
Updated 29 Aug 2014
Since the Second World War, radar systems have become smaller, further, wetter and stealthier. Discover the application of radar in modern life...

OU on the BBC: Castles in the Sky

Featuring: VideoVideo
OU on the BBC: Castles in the Sky Copyrighted image Credit: BBC
Updated 28 Aug 2014
Embrace a remarkable human drama behind the invention that was to prove pivotal in the Battle of Britain - radar.

Iconic engineering: The Forth Bridge and Concorde

Iconic engineering: The Forth Bridge and Concorde Creative commons image Credit: George Gastin
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 26 Aug 2014
Why do we look on with adoration and amazement at some engineering creations while others leave us feeling indifferent? Dr Ian Johnston examines...

Materials: Sustainability and structure

Featuring: AudioAudio
Materials: Sustainability and structure Creative commons image Credit: epSos under CC-BY-2.0 licence
Introductory level Duration 20 mins Updated 18 Aug 2014
Whether it's outlining the world's attitude to plastic bags or admiring the Pont de Normandie, Ian Johnston and Bernie Clark discuss sustainability...

How sustainable is mass production?

How sustainable is mass production? Copyright free image Credit: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Introductory level Duration 15 mins Updated 15 Aug 2014
Miraculous inventions and engineering has enabled us to get our hands on cheap and effective products used in everyday life, but are the materials...

Free OpenLearn courses.
OU course extracts and exclusive free courses

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Introducing engineering

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo
Introducing engineering Copyright free image Credit: VIADGRIN shutterstock
Introductory level Duration 15 hours Updated 29 Jan 2015
Engineering encompasses a broad range of disciplines from design to manufacturing. This unit introduces a number of key themes that explore how...

Personal development planning for engineering

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo AudioAudio
Personal development planning for engineering Copyright free image Credit: iStock
Introductory level Duration 12 hours Updated 18 Dec 2014
An introduction to Personal Development Planning and career development planning in the context of developing as a professional engineer. In...

People-centred designing

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo ActivityActivity
People-centred designing Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 12 hours Updated 05 Mar 2014
Designed products surround us all and range from bus tickets to buildings. This unit focuses firmly on usability and the increasingly important...

Design

Free CourseFree Course
Design Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 28 hours Updated 10 Dec 2013
This unit looks at the process of design – from assessing the complexity of design as an activity, to exposing the difficulty in making general...

Finding information in technology

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: AudioAudio ActivityActivity
Finding information in technology Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 9 hours Updated 26 Nov 2013
The internet provides a world of information, but how do you find what you are looking for? This unit will help you discover the meaning of...

Design thinking

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo ActivityActivity
Design thinking Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 10 hours Updated 22 Dec 2011
Are you ever frustrated with something that you thought you could design better? Design thinking can structure your natural creativity to come up...

Potable water treatment

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo ActivityActivity
Potable water treatment Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 20 hours Updated 29 Jul 2011
Without it we are dead! Water is essential, but what processes must it go through to become fit for human consumption? This unit will guide you...

Invention and innovation: An introduction

Free CourseFree Course Featuring: VideoVideo
Invention and innovation: An introduction Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Advanced level Duration 55 hours Updated 28 Jul 2011
This unit is for designers, engineers, technologists and anyone interested in designing and inventing. It is also for managers and consumers...

Engineering: The nature of problems

Free CourseFree Course
Engineering: The nature of problems Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Intermediate level Duration 40 hours Updated 28 Jul 2011
Engineering is about extending the horizons of society by solving technical problems, ranging from the meeting of basic human needs for food and...

Structural devices

Free CourseFree Course
Structural devices Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Advanced level Duration 20 hours Updated 25 Jul 2011
Microelectronics has enabled designers of integrated circuits to exercise complete control over the electrical characteristics of each component...

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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 31 Mar 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...

Top-up Bachelor of Engineering with Honours

CourseCourse
Top-up Bachelor of Engineering with Honours Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 1200 hours Updated 31 Mar 2015
This course enables you to top up your knowledge and skills to honours degree level if you have completed an OU foundation degree or diploma of...

BA/BSc Open degree

CourseCourse
BA/BSc Open degree Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 31 Mar 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...

Diploma of Higher Education in Engineering

CourseCourse
Diploma of Higher Education in Engineering Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University/Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 31 Mar 2015
Engineering is at the heart of the built environment, and plays a central role in every aspect of our working and personal lives – from electricity...

Diploma of Higher Education in Materials Fabrication and Engineering

CourseCourse
Diploma of Higher Education in Materials Fabrication and Engineering Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 31 Mar 2015
This Diploma of Higher Education in Materials Fabrication and Engineering brings together qualifications offered by The Welding Institute (TWI) –...

Foundation Degree in Engineering

CourseCourse
Foundation Degree in Engineering Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University/Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 31 Mar 2015
Engineering is at the heart of the built environment, and plays a central role in every aspect of our working and personal lives – from electricity...

Diploma of Higher Education in Computing&IT&Second Subject

CourseCourse
Diploma of Higher Education in Computing&IT&Second Subject Creative commons image Credit: Sam I Are under CC-BY-NC-SA Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 31 Mar 2015
Computing and IT skills are hugely valued in the modern workplace; studied together with a second complementary subject they can give you an...

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 31 Mar 2015
Studying at university level is not just about gaining a degree. We also offer a range of other qualifications, including Certificates and Diplomas...

Foundation Degree in Materials Fabrication and Engineering

CourseCourse
Foundation Degree in Materials Fabrication and Engineering Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 31 Mar 2015
This Foundation Degree in Materials Fabrication and Engineering brings together qualifications offered by The Welding Institute (TWI) – the world...