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Liberals saw their chance to build on an abandoned middle ground

Liberals saw their chance to build on an abandoned middle ground Copyrighted image Credit: Davidwatmough | Dreamstime.com
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 14 Apr 2015
In the lead up to the 2015 General Election, Alan Shipman looks back at how the Liberals built on the abandoned middle ground. 

The Conservative Manifesto - Then and Now

The Conservative Manifesto - Then and Now Copyrighted image Credit: Newsfocus1 | Dreamstime.com
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 13 Apr 2015
Alan Shipman looks back at the 1979 Conservative Manifesto and compares it to their modern day manifesto. 

Labour paid the price for a decade of economic derailment

Labour paid the price for a decade of economic derailment Copyrighted image Credit: Highwaystarz | Dreamstime.com
Intermediate level Duration 15 mins Updated 07 Apr 2015
Alan Shipman discusses why convincing voters that 'Labour is the better way' was a tough job in 1979. 

OU on the BBC: Wastemen

OU on the BBC: Wastemen Copyrighted image Credit: BBC
Duration 5 mins Updated 07 Apr 2015
Join the people who work round the clock to cope with the vast swathes of waste produced by modern Britain, as we meet the Wastemen.

How much government funding do universities get?

How much government funding do universities get? Creative commons image Credit: Stephen McKay under CC-BY-SA licence
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 07 Apr 2015
John Brennan explains the latest statistics on state funding for universities.

How(e) 'Labour Isn't Working' did the job for the Conservatives

How(e) 'Labour Isn't Working' did the job for the Conservatives Copyrighted image Credit: Chris Ware / stringer
Introductory level Duration 15 mins Updated 31 Mar 2015
Alan Shipman discusses how Saatchi and Saatchi's 'Labour Isn't Working' campaign became the poster-child of political advertising.

Economic problems of 1979 were buried, not resolved

Economic problems of 1979 were buried, not resolved Copyrighted image Credit: Presiyan Panayotov | Dreamstime.com
Introductory level Duration 20 mins Updated 26 Mar 2015
In the lead up to the General Election, Alan Shipman discusses how the economic problems of 1979 were swept under the carpet, but they are not off...

Will pension reform give older people the freedom they seek?

Will pension reform give older people the freedom they seek? Creative commons image Credit: Catherine Pain
Duration 5 mins Updated 16 Mar 2015
As the Chancellor seeks to unlock more pension savings, are there risks alongside the benefits on offer?

The 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum - Introduction

The 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum - Introduction Creative commons image Credit: By The Laird of Oldham via Flickr under Creative Commons license
Intermediate level Duration 30 mins Updated 02 Mar 2015
This series of articles introduces you to the main themes and issues that informed the Scottish Independence Debate.

Crisis. What Crisis?

Crisis. What Crisis?         Copyrighted image Credit: BBC
Intermediate level Duration 5 mins Updated 16 Feb 2015
What provided the background for the 1979 Winter of Discontent and why did this background contribute to the James Callaghan's loss of power? 

The spaces of politics

Featuring: VideoVideo
The spaces of politics Creative commons image Credit: The Open University
Intermediate level Duration 20 mins Updated 13 Feb 2015
What are the spaces of politics beyond the usual buildings of parliament? Three Open University academics tell us in this video. 

Social Science and Psychology Discussion Hub

Social Science and Psychology Discussion Hub Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University / Karen Parker
Updated 23 Jan 2015
Discussion hub for those studying the Social Science and Psychology Pathway with Pathways to Success. 

Europe's lost art of money-making

Europe's lost art of money-making Creative commons image Credit: Gary Edwards
Duration 10 mins Updated 23 Jan 2015
European Central Bank just announced its first step into Quantitative Easing (QE), but can injecting money into the economy single-handedly save...

Poverty in Scotland 2014: The Independence Referendum and Beyond

Poverty in Scotland 2014: The Independence Referendum and Beyond Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University
Updated 21 Jan 2015
Poverty in Scotland 2014 looks at the September 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum and the different constitutional futures that were then...

General Election 2015 - 79Rewind

Featuring: ActivityActivity
General Election 2015 - 79Rewind Creative commons image Credit: KCIvey under CC BY-NC-2.0 licence
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 09 Jan 2015
Join us as we count down to the 2015 General Election with a step back in time... 

When a top cop and Russell Brand unite against austerity, something must be happening

When a top cop and Russell Brand unite against austerity, something must be happening Creative commons image Credit: Marlenna Pope Weldemann under CC-BY-NC-SA licence
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 22 Dec 2014
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and Russell Brand have both spoekn out against austerity policies - but is it a...

Waste not, want not?

Featuring: ActivityActivity
Waste not, want not? Copyrighted image Credit: Paper bales image (c) Philnik | Dreamstime.com
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 28 Oct 2014
Despite it being part of our everyday lives, waste management is a mystery to many. Try our quiz to test your knowledge.  

House prices falling? Don’t bet the bank on it

House prices falling? Don’t bet the bank on it Creative commons image Credit: Gary Edwards
Updated 20 Oct 2014
Even if prices are falling, it looks like generation rent will likely be around for some time to come.

Capitalism: Beyond repair or awaiting a fix?

Capitalism: Beyond repair or awaiting a fix? Creative commons image Credit: Dominic Alves under CC-BY licence
Duration 15 mins Updated 03 Oct 2014
The 2008 financial crisis still thrums underneath political debate six years on - have we missed a chance to rework capitalism? Does it even need...

Why Russia’s flak jackets beat the NATO safety-suit

Why Russia’s flak jackets beat the NATO safety-suit Creative commons image Credit: Gary Edwards
Updated 18 Sep 2014
Putin’s sins will go unpunished abroad because of greater resilience to their financial aftershocks at home, writes Alan Shipman.   

Is it time we had a maximum wage?

Is it time we had a maximum wage? Creative commons image Credit: Catherine Pain
Updated 08 Sep 2014
With executive pay spiraling, should government introduce a maximum wage? writes Dick Skellington.

The energy dilemma

The energy dilemma Creative commons image Credit: Lee Haywood under CC BY-SA 2.0 license
Intermediate level Duration 5 mins Updated 26 Aug 2014
How can the Government balance voter and industry expectations of the energy market in the lead up to the next election? 

Did the Chancellor outwit his critics - or out borrow them?

Did the Chancellor outwit his critics - or out borrow them? Creative commons image Credit: Catherine Pain
Updated 18 Aug 2014
Despite a fragile recovery, with earnings stagnating, Alan Shipman warns we may be facing an indefinite period of austerity.

Free OpenLearn courses.
OU course extracts and exclusive free courses

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Economics explains discrimination in the labour market

Free CourseFree Course
Economics explains discrimination in the labour market Copyrighted image Credit: Used with permission
Advanced level Duration 8 hours Updated 14 Jul 2011
Discrimination in the labour market exists in many forms: the ‘glass ceiling’ ageism, racism, etc. This unit will help you look at this problem...

Wales: Culture and identity

Featuring: AudioAudio
Wales: Culture and identity Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University 2011
Introductory level Duration 1 hour 15 mins Updated 29 Mar 2011
Wales is a vibrant nation with its own language, musical heritage and strong cultural identity. Central to this identity and a source of national...

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Change your life with a qualification

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Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences

CourseCourse
Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University/Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 1200 hours Updated 07 May 2015
Are you interested in what shapes the lives we lead and the decisions we make? Have you wondered why people continue to smoke when they know the...

Certificate of Higher Education Open

CourseCourse
Certificate of Higher Education Open Copyrighted image Credit: Irochka | Dreamstime.com Updated content
Duration 1200 hours Updated 07 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 07 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...

Foundation Degree in Financial Services

CourseCourse
Foundation Degree in Financial Services Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 07 May 2015
With global financial markets and personal finances making the headlines daily, there’s never been a more exciting time to study finance and...

Diploma of Higher Education in Financial Services

CourseCourse
Diploma of Higher Education in Financial Services Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University / Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 07 May 2015
With global financial markets and personal finances making the headlines daily, there’s never been a more exciting time to study finance and...

BSc (Honours) Economics and Mathematical Sciences

CourseCourse
BSc (Honours) Economics and Mathematical Sciences Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 07 May 2015
Graduates who understand the commercial and economic environment and who are also highly numerate are in short supply. If you enjoy solving...

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 07 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...

Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Social Sciences

CourseCourse
Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Social Sciences Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 2400 hours Updated 07 May 2015
Does material consumption make us happier? Is parenting a social as well as an individual activity? What impact is the financial crisis having on...

BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 07 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...

BA (Honours) Business Studies

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) Business Studies Copyrighted image Credit: iStock Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 07 May 2015
How do businesses develop strategies, handle risk and take decisions? What’s involved in essential business functions such as marketing, accounting...

BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences

CourseCourse
BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University / Karen Parker Updated content
Duration 3600 hours Updated 07 May 2015
What causes riots? Is commercialisation eroding childhood? Does poverty lead to crime? Social science explores such questions and helps inform...

The uses of social science

CourseCourse
The uses of social science Copyrighted image Credit: iStock Updated content
Intermediate level Duration 600 hours Updated 07 May 2015 Register by 10 Sep 2015
What can social science tell us about the social world? How can it help us solve the troubles and dilemmas of private and public life?

Doing economics: people, markets and policy

CourseCourse
Doing economics: people, markets and policy Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Advanced level Duration 600 hours Updated 07 May 2015 Register by 10 Sep 2015
Examine the various economic theories that explain people’s behaviour in households, businesses and governments and make critical judgements of...

Personal investment in an uncertain world

CourseCourse
Personal investment in an uncertain world Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University / Karen Parker Updated content
Intermediate level Duration 300 hours Updated 07 May 2015 Register by 10 Sep 2015
Explores some of the concepts that underpin investment planning and examines how investment planning decisions are affected by economic uncertainty.

Running the economy

CourseCourse
Running the economy Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University/Karen Parker Updated content
Intermediate level Duration 600 hours Updated 07 May 2015 Register by 10 Sep 2015
Learn how to think like an economist and understand the problems of running the national and global economy after the outbreak of a major economic...

You and your money: personal finance in context

CourseCourse
You and your money: personal finance in context Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University/Karen Parker Updated content
Introductory level Duration 300 hours Updated 07 May 2015 Register by 10 Sep 2015
This practical course builds your financial knowledge and skills, improves your understanding of personal finance and develops your awareness of...

International relations: continuity and change in global politics

CourseCourse
International relations: continuity and change in global politics Copyrighted image Credit: Dreamstime Updated content
Advanced level Duration 600 hours Updated 07 May 2015 Register by 10 Sep 2015
Studying this module will help you to understand the key areas of change and the major problems in international relations today.