Free courses

Free courses

Produced by The Open University, a world leader in open and distance learning, all OpenLearn courses are free to study. We offer nearly 1000 free courses across 8 different subject areas. Our courses are available to start right away.

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A growing selection of our courses offer a free Open University digital badge. Badges demonstrate your interest in a subject, a commitment to your career or provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Lunchtime learning

Got a few spare minutes? Brush up on your knowledge with our range of free bite-size courses and activities.

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Results: 99 items Grid List
The technology of crime control Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

The technology of crime control

How big an impact does CCTV have on your life? This free course, The technology of crime control, provides the opportunity to listen to an argument surrounding the purpose, efficacy and regulation of CCTV. Is it there for crime control or is Big Brother really watching?

Free course
1 hr
The value of coffee free course icon Level 1 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

The value of coffee

This free course explores the economic and cultural value of coffee. You will follow the chain of processes that connect the drink you enjoy on a daily basis with circuits of economic and cultural value, hearing from coffee farmers and consumers in different parts of the world.

Free course
3 hrs
Introduction to European Union law free course icon Level 2 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Introduction to European Union law

This free course introduces the law of the European Union. It provides a broad overview of the legal framework, including historic dimension, the discussion of competences and a synopsis of the way Member States can join and leave the European Union, from a legal perspective. It covers unique concepts of European Union law, such as subsidiarity, and how these relate to national legal systems. Knowledge of law or prior legal studies to this course can be supportive but are not essential.

Free course
12 hrs
Judges and the law Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Judges and the law

How do judges make law? This free course, Judges and the law, will examine how the common law system works, the differences between 'civil code' and 'common law' systems, and the advantages and disadvantages of the common law system. The role of the judiciary in the law-making process is explored by examining the origins of common law, the system of precedent and the rules of statutory interpretation.

Free course
20 hrs
The body: A phenomenological psychological perspective Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

The body: A phenomenological psychological perspective

The body has traditionally been treated as a biological object in psychology. However, is there more to our bodies than that? Some psychologists recognise that we relate to other people and the world about us through our body. This free course, The body: A phenomenological psychological perspective, explores the theoretical perspective on embodiment: the phenomenological psychological perspective.

Free course
15 hrs
Who counts as a refugee? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Who counts as a refugee?

The words 'refugee' and 'asylum seeker' have a wide variety of connotations in Britain, many of them negative. This free course, Who ------ as a refugee?, explores how changing social policy and terminology help to shape, and are shaped by, the experiences of people seeking asylum in the UK.

Free course
10 hrs
Sexual orientation and gender identity free course icon Level 3 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Sexual orientation and gender identity

This free course examines legal approaches to people whose sexual orientation or gender identity does not conform to that of the majority. This explores how legal and social/cultural attitudes have changed significantly over time, and demonstrates how much they have changed in recent years. Legal approaches to sexual orientation and gender identity cover a range of different areas of law including criminal, employment and family law. The focus will be on the approach of English law (which generally covers the law applying in both England and Wales), but reference will also be made to the approach in other countries.

Free course
10 hrs
Introducing research in law and beyond free course icon Level 3 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Introducing research in law and beyond

This free course, Introducing research in law and beyond, is designed to introduce you to the skills required to develop and complete a legal research project. You will learn about the complexities of research, how to identify a research topic, how to conduct a literature review and how to develop research questions. This course also considers the uses and applications of information and data, research methods, the process of analysing information to draw valid conclusions, and explains how to write up a research proposal.

Free course
10 hrs
Psychology in the 21st century Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Psychology in the 21st century

Psychology is not a simple subject. This free course, Psychology in the 21st century, examines how different aspects of human behaviour provide the focus for different psychologists. Using learning as an example, you will discover how many different approaches can be adopted, thus illustrating that there is no single way of answering psychological questions.

Free course
12 hrs
An introduction to law in contemporary Scotland Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

An introduction to law in contemporary Scotland

Many aspects of the law in Scotland are different from those of England and Wales. Centuries of development and growth have been influenced by factors unique to Scotland, resulting in a legal system that is distinct from those of its neighbours. This free course, An introduction to law in contemporary Scotland, explores the legal history of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and its relationship with the UK Parliament.

Free course
10 hrs
Changing cities free course icon Level 3 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Changing cities

Urban processes are increasingly held to be responsible for causing a variety of problems environmental destruction, social injustice, global financial instability. They are also identified as harbouring the potential to meet these challenges through urban experiments in sustainable living, creative culture and alternative economies. This free course, Changing cities, explores how contemporary processes of urbanisation challenge how we think about political agency, providing a framework for the analysis of the causes, implications and responses to issues of common concern.

Free course
15 hrs
The use of force in international law free course icon Level 3 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

The use of force in international law

This free course, The use of force in international law, is designed to provide you with an introduction to one of the contentious topics in public international law: the use of force. In this course, you will explore international rules governing the use of force, including an introduction to the laws of war (International Humanitarian Law). Finally, you will also consider the dilemma of humanitarian intervention, which you can later apply in the game Saving Setrus.

Free course
10 hrs
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