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.

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Grid List Results: 298 items
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Gene manipulation in plants free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology

Gene manipulation in plants

Genetic manipulation of crops is an issue of great current interest and controversy. This free course, Gene manipulation in plants, covers some of the basic science that underpins the debate and examines the hotly contested case study of the development of 'golden rice'. By looking at the science behind the headlines you will acquire a clearer ...

Free course
10 hrs
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Tay Bridge disaster free course icon Level

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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Pain and Aspirin free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology

Pain and Aspirin

What causes pain and how do we stop it? This free course, Pain and Aspirin, looks at how the human body responds to the release of certain chemicals and as a result feels pain. Pain can be reduced by inhibiting the formation of such chemicals and you will learn how the molecular structure of aspirin has been formulated to help in this process.

Free course
4 hrs
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Systems modelling free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology

Systems modelling

Maps and plans, architects and engineers, drawings, graphs and tables: all are models we use in everyday life. This free course, Systems modelling, will introduce you to the modelling process, enabling you to recognise that systems models may be used in different ways as part of a process for: improving understanding of a situation; identifying ...

Free course
4 hrs
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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
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Mastering systems thinking in practice free course icon Level Badge icon

Science, Maths & Technology

Mastering systems thinking in practice

This free course, Mastering systems thinking in practice, provides a primer for someone wanting to take the postgraduate qualifications in Systems Thinking in Practice. It will help you develop new ways of thinking about and approaching situations that cross multiple discipline and skill boundaries. You will learn to think more holistically ...

Free course
24 hrs
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Digital communications free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology

Digital communications

Optical-fibre communications became commercially viable in the 1970s and innovation continues today. This free course, Digital communications, will illustrate how very high data rates can be transmitted over long distances through optical fibres. You will learn how these fibres are linked, examine the technology used and assess the future ...

Free course
20 hrs
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Introduction to algebra free course icon Level

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
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Introduction to microscopy free course icon Level

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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Structural materials in cells free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology

Structural materials in cells

Where does the structure of our body come from? This free course, Structural materials in cells, looks at the structure of cells and how proteins are used by both animals and plants to create a framework for cellular growth. You will also learn how a material as fine as spider silk can exceed the strength of steel.

Free course
20 hrs
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Distributed paradigms free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology

Distributed paradigms

This free course, Distributed paradigms, looks at some of the architectural and programming paradigms used in distributed system development. You will learn about synchronous and asynchronous message passing, distributed objects technology and event-based bus architecture, before finally moving on to tuple architecture.

Free course
4 hrs
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An introduction to design engineering free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology

An introduction to design engineering

This free course, An introduction to design engineering, looks at the way in which engineers use ideas and approaches from the discipline of design thinking to inform their work. The complexity that people bring to design problems is introduced, along with some basic methods of dealing with such complexity.

Free course
10 hrs