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.

Grid List Results: 91 items
Copyright free Icon
Could we control our climate? free course icon Level Badge icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Could we control our climate?

Climate crisis is one of the grand challenges we face as a society, but it can be hard to approach as a subject. Not only can the science at times seem dauntingly complex, but the solutions are also far from clear. This leaves many people feeling confused, guilty, anxious, angry, or else completely switched off from the subject. This course ...

Free course
24 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Why are nonhuman animals victims of harm? free course icon Level

Society, Politics & Law

Why are nonhuman animals victims of harm?

In this free course, Why are nonhuman animals victims of harm? you will investigate why nonhuman animals tend to be overlooked as victims of violence. The course explores some of the social processes and structures that victimise other animals, such as ‘livestock’ farming. The course also highlights some of the environmental harms related ...

Free course
2 hrs
Copyright free Icon
Fire ecology free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology

Fire ecology

This course explores the role of fire as a natural disturbance in ecosystems. It introduces the concept of a fire regime and its influence on the type and distribution of organisms that occur in fire prone ecosystems. It also looks at some of the adaptations of plants that have evolved in these ecosystems and how animals either avoid or exploit ...

Free course
4 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Microbes – friend or foe? free course icon Level

Nature & Environment

Microbes – friend or foe?

Microbes often get a bad name. Whilst some of them do cause disease, others play vital roles in recycling nutrients in the soil to enable plants to grow, and in breaking down human waste. Without microbes, we would have no beer, no yoghurt, no coffee. That's quite impressive for something too small to see. This free course, Microbes friend or ...

Free course
2 hrs
Copyright free Icon
Eating for the environment free course icon Level

Nature & Environment

Eating for the environment

This free course, Eating for the environment, will explore the links between food, nutrition and environmental sustainability.

Free course
8 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Animals at the extremes: polar biology free course icon Level

Nature & Environment

Animals at the extremes: polar biology

The extreme challenges of life in the polar regions require the animals who make their habitat there to make many adaptations. This free course, Animals at the extremes: polar biology, explores the polar climate and how animals like reindeer, polar bears, penguins, sea life and even humans manage to survive there. It looks at the adaptations to ...

Free course
14 hrs
Copyright free Icon
Introducing mammals free course icon Level

Nature & Environment

Introducing mammals

Mammals come in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes, and yet all species have some characteristics in common. These similarities justify the inclusion of all such diverse types within the single taxonomic group (or class) called the Mammalia. This free course, Introducing mammals, offers a starting point for the study of mammals. It will ...

Free course
5 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems free course icon Level

Nature & Environment

Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems

What is ecology and why is it important to our understanding of the world around us? This free course, Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems, looks at how we can study ecosystems to explore the effect that humans are having on the environment.

Free course
5 hrs
Copyright free Icon
Aquatic mammals free course icon Level

Nature & Environment

Aquatic mammals

Mammals come in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes and yet all of the 4700 or so species have some characteristics in common, which justifies the inclusion of diverse types within a single group. Although mammals evolved on land, a number of species have become adapted to spending part or all of their lives in water and it is these ...

Free course
5 hrs
Copyright free Icon
Can renewable energy sources power the world? free course icon Level Badge icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Can renewable energy sources power the world?

We ask the question ‘Can renewable energy sources power the world?’ as a response to the growing awareness that increased use of renewable energy technologies is making a major contribution to global efforts to limit anthropogenic climate change. The course begins by examining the environmental concerns that have caused a rise in interest in ...

Free course
24 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Understanding the environment: Flows and feedback free course icon Level

Nature & Environment

Understanding the environment: Flows and feedback

There is increasing recognition that the reductionist mindset that is currently dominating society, rooted in unlimited economic growth unperceptive to its social and environmental impact, cannot resolve the converging environmental, social and economic crises we now face. The primary aim of this free course, Understanding the environment: Flows...

Free course
12 hrs
Copyrighted Icon
Understanding the environment: Complexity and chaos free course icon Level

Nature & Environment

Understanding the environment: Complexity and chaos

There is increasing recognition that the reductionist mindset that is currently dominating society, rooted in unlimited economic growth unperceptive to its social and environmental impact, cannot resolve the converging environmental, social and economic crises we now face. The primary aim of this free course, Understanding the environment: ...

Free course
12 hrs