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.

  • All topics
Grid List Results: 129 items
Copyrighted Icon
The Roman Empire: introducing some key terms free course icon Level

History & The Arts

The Roman Empire: introducing some key terms

This free course, The Roman Empire: Introducing some key terms, will define basic concepts and terms that are essential for an understanding of the culture and identity of the Roman Empire. Terms such as 'Roman Empire' and 'imperium' will be introduced in the context of the formation and expansion of the empire, and the course will provide you ...

Free course
14 hrs
Creative commons Icon
Picturing the family free course icon Level

History & The Arts

Picturing the family

Besides being simple mementos, family photographs can offer insights into the past. This free course, Picturing the family, looks at some of the ways photographs can reveal, and sometimes conceal, important information about the past. It teaches the skills and provides some of the knowledge needed to interpret such pictorial sources.

Free course
12 hrs
Copyright free Icon
Hadrian's Rome free course icon Level

History & The Arts

Hadrian's Rome

This free course, Hadrian's Rome, explores the city of Rome during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (117-38 CE). What impact did the emperor have on the appearance of the city? What types of structures were built and why? And how did the choices that Hadrian made relate to those of his predecessors, and also of his successors?

Free course
10 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Napoleonic paintings free course icon Level

History & The Arts

Napoleonic paintings

In this free course, Napoleonic paintings, we will examine a range of Napoleonic imagery by David, Gros and a number of other artists, beginning with comparatively simple single-figure portraits and moving on to elaborate narrative compositions, such as Jaffa and Eylau. In so doing, we will have three main aims: to develop your skills of visual ...

Free course
16 hrs
Copyright free Icon
How do empires work? free course icon Level

History & The Arts

How do empires work?

How are empires ruled? How do military, economic, logistic and cultural constructs combine to create 'systems of empire'? This free course, How do empires work?, introduces these questions by briefly sketching in the dramatic events of the Anglo-Chinese conflict over Hong Kong from 1839 to 1842.

Free course
1 hr
Copyrighted Icon
History of reading tutorial 3: Famous writers and their reading - Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Vernon Lee free course icon Level

History & The Arts

History of reading tutorial 3: Famous writers and their reading - Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Vernon Lee

Have you ever wondered about the reading tastes and habits of famous writers in the past? This free course, History of reading tutorial 3: Famous writers and their reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Vernon Lee, is the third tutorial in a series designed to help users of the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) search, browse and use this...

Free course
1 hr
Copyrighted Icon
History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past free course icon Level

History & The Arts

History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past

How do we know what people read in the past, and how they read it? This free course, History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past, is the first in a series of tutorials designed to help users of the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) search, browse and use the resource, and explores the types of evidence historians...

Free course
2 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Art and the Mexican Revolution free course icon Level

History & The Arts

Art and the Mexican Revolution

In this free course, Art and the Mexican Revolution, you will explore one of Diego Rivera’s key murals which was commissioned by the Mexican government in the period after the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920. These monumental public artworks, designed to win over the Mexican peasantry and working-class to the new post-revolutionary state, ...

Free course
7 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Introducing Homer's Iliad free course icon Level

History & The Arts

Introducing Homer's Iliad

This free course, Introducing Homer's Iliad, focuses on the epic poem telling the story of the Trojan War. It begins with the wider cycle of myths of which the Iliad was a part. It then looks at the story of the poem itself and its major theme of Achilles' anger, in particular in the first seven lines. It examines some of the characteristic ...

Free course
6 hrs
Creative commons Icon
Imagination: The missing mystery of philosophy free course icon Level

History & The Arts

Imagination: The missing mystery of philosophy

What is imagination and can philosophy define it in any meaningful way? This free course, Imagination: The missing mystery of philosophy, will introduce you to some of the possible answers to these questions and will examine why philosophy has sometimes found it difficult to approach imagination. It will then go on to examine the relationship ...

Free course
20 hrs
Creative commons Icon
Heritage case studies: Scotland free course icon Level

History & The Arts

Heritage case studies: Scotland

The heritage traditions of Scotland are unique in comparison to the rest of Britain. This free course, Heritage case studies: Scotland, uses two case studies to demonstrate how heritage sites have helped to forge the Scottish national identity and history.

Free course
5 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
French Revolution free course icon Level

History & The Arts

French Revolution

--- Please note: This is course is due to be archived on Wednesday 21st December. You can study the course up until this date. For learners who have completed the course, the Statement of Participation will remain in your learner records in your OpenLearn profile. --- This free course provides basic historical background to the French ...

Free course
16 hrs