Free course

A brief history of communication: hieroglyphics to emojis

Free statement of participation on completion
A brief history of communication: hieroglyphics to emojis Creative commons Icon

This free course, A brief history of communication: hieroglyphics to emojis, is an introduction to the history of writing, and the key role it plays in human communication. It tracks this history from the invention of writing around 5500 years ago to the mass popularity of emojis today.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand how different writing systems have developed over time 
  • understand how technology influences what we can do with language, and the form that language takes.

First Published: 14/11/2018

Updated: 05/12/2019

Skip Rate and Review

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371