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 9 different subject areas. Our courses are available to start right away.

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Grid List Results: 244 items
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Studying mammals: Return to the water free course icon level 1: introductory icon

Nature & Environment

Studying mammals: Return to the water

Some of the most unusual and versatile of all the mammals are the groups that live, feed and reproduce underwater. In this free course, Studying mammals: Return to the water, we will see how these formerly land-based mammals adapted to a return to the water, discussing such challenges as breathing, movement and communication. This is the seventh...

Free course
10 hrs
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Strategic planning: systems thinking in practice free course icon level 3: advanced icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Strategic planning: systems thinking in practice

Strategic planning: systems thinking in practice is a free course introducing core ideas of systems thinking in practice for managing and improving complex situations. The ideas correspond with three core activities of, firstly, understanding inter-relationships, secondly, engaging with multiple perspectives, and thirdly, reflecting on boundary ...

Free course
20 hrs
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Introduction to microscopy free course icon level 1: introductory icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Introduction to microscopy

This free course provides an introduction to microscopy and the operation of a simple light microscope, of the type found in histology courses and teaching laboratories. It outlines different methods used for preparing and staining tissue sections for microscopy, and explains how different stains can be used to identify particular cells, ...

Free course
3 hrs
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The science of alcohol free course icon level 1: introductory icon Badge icon

Science, Maths & Technology

The science of alcohol

Alcohol plays a considerable part in the daily lives of humanity and has done for thousands of years. This free course, The science of alcohol, looks at the science behind the processes of brewing, distilling and vinification, and how many of our beverages are made. A historical aspect is also covered showing how the modern production techniques...

Free course
24 hrs
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Introducing vectors for engineering applications free course icon level 1: introductory icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Introducing vectors for engineering applications

Applied mathematics is a key skill for practicing engineers and mathematical modelling is an ever-increasing field within engineering. This free course, Introducing vectors for engineering applications, covers one aspect of a Level 1 engineering module, the application of vectors and vector algebra, using examples inspired by engineering ...

Free course
5 hrs
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Achieving public dialogue free course icon level 3: advanced icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Achieving public dialogue

There are a wide range of interactions between 'science' and 'the public'. Examples range from visiting a museum, or indulging in a science-related hobby, to reading a newspaper article about a breakthrough in the techniques of therapeutic cloning. Many of these interactions could be said to be 'passive'. This free course, Achieving public ...

Free course
16 hrs
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Particle physics free course icon level 1: introductory icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Particle physics

This free course, Particle physics, will give you an overview of current concepts and theories in the field. You will learn about the fundamental components of matter – known as leptons and quarks – and the composite particles, such as protons and neutrons, which are composed of quarks. You will see that all particle reactions may be described ...

Free course
5 hrs
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Introduction to differentiation free course icon level 1: introductory icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Introduction to differentiation

This free course is an introduction to differentiation. Section 1 looks at gradients of graphs and introduces differentiation from first principles. Section 2 looks at finding derivatives of simple functions. Section 3 introduces rates of change by looking at real life situations. Section 4 looks at using the derivative of a function to deduce ...

Free course
18 hrs
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Gene therapy free course icon level 1: introductory icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Gene therapy

Following on from the advances made in diagnosing disorders using genetic testing, this free course, Gene therapy, looks at the possibilities for genetic therapies. Two approaches to gene therapy are discussed: correcting genes involved in causing illness; and using genes to treat disorders. Before closing on a discussion of the issues around ...

Free course
4 hrs
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Tay Bridge disaster free course icon level 3: advanced icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Tay Bridge disaster

The sudden collapse of Scotland's Tay Bridge in 1879 killed more than 70 rail passengers and shocked the population. An extensive inquiry was carried out, including numerous witnesses, experts and reports. Were the high winds that night to blame, or were poor design or mechanical failure at fault? This free course re-examines some of the ...

Free course
20 hrs
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Exploring depression free course icon level 3: advanced icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Exploring depression

This free advanced level course, Exploring depression, serves as an introduction to masters level study in neurosciences and mental health. Focusing on depression, you will consider key issues concerning diagnosis, causes and interventions. You will also begin to explore theoretical models, biological and psychological explanations, and look at ...

Free course
7 hrs
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Introduction to algebra free course icon level 1: introductory icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Introduction to algebra

This free course is an introduction to algebra which builds on the idea of using letters to represent numbers. Section 1 looks at finding, simplifying and using formulas and includes useful tips on learning algebra. Section 2 introduces some of the terminology used in algebra and techniques such as evaluating and checking equivalence of ...

Free course
16 hrs