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Taking your first steps into higher education
Taking your first steps into higher education

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Introduction and guidance

Taking your first steps into higher education is a free badged course which lasts 8 weeks, with approximately 3 hours' study time each week. You can work through the course at your own pace, so if you have more time one week there is no problem with pushing on to complete another week’s study.

This free badged course is always available on OpenLearn. You can study whenever you wish and at a pace that suits you. At the end of each week a short quiz provides an opportunity for you to check your understanding. These short quizzes also prepare you for the longer quizzes at the end of Weeks 5 and 8. If you score over 50% on both these quizzes you can claim the Open University badge for Taking your first steps into higher education.

Week 1 provides an overview of the course and gets you to think about what you might get out of it.

Weeks 2 and 3 introduce what it’s like to study arts and humanities subjects at university.

Weeks 4 and 5 introduce what it’s like to study social science subjects at university.

Weeks 6 and 7 introduce what it’s like to study science, technology and maths at university.

Week 8 looks back over the course and encourages you to think about your next steps.

After completing this course you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a basic understanding of what is meant by higher education and the nature of study at this level
  • demonstrate an understanding of a range of basic facts, ideas and theories associated with the arts and humanities, social sciences and science, technology and maths
  • recognise and use some of the basic terms and concepts associated with these subjects
  • use and apply routine skills associated with these subjects
  • recognise your own personal skills, interests and preferences relating to higher education study
  • plan and review your study pathways to link your learning with your own personal or career goals.

Moving around the course

The easiest way to navigate around the course is through the 'My course progress' page, you can get back there at any time by clicking on 'Go to course progress' in the menu bar. From the quizzes click on 'Return to Taking your first steps into higher education'.

It's also good practice, if you access a link from within a course page, including links to the quizzes, to open it in new window or tab. That way you can easily return to where you've come from without having to use the back button on your browser.