Skip to content
Society, Politics & Law

Society, Politics & Law

So many people, how do we get on together, and what happens when we don't?

Society, Politics & Law

Free courses

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.

Free badged courses

A growing selection of our courses offer a free Open University digital badge. Badges demonstrate your interest in a subject, a commitment to your career or provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Lunchtime learning

Got a few spare minutes? Brush up on your knowledge with our range of free bite-size courses and activities.

All topics
Grid List Results: 153 items
The Scottish Parliament and law making free course icon Level 1 icon Badge icon

Society, Politics & Law 

The Scottish Parliament and law making

This free course, The Scottish Parliament and law making, explores the law making powers of the Scottish Parliament and examines its place in the UK’s constitution. It considers how, and why, laws are made by both the Scottish and UK Parliaments before exploring devolved matters, reserved matters, legislative competence, secondary legislation, and the work of MSPs and MPs. It discusses the characteristics of the constitution, the importance of the concept of the rule of law, how an Act of Parliament is structured and considers how and why members of the public are encouraged to become involved with the work of the Scottish Parliament.

Free course
24 hrs
Creative commons image Icon Image by Kirk Fisher from Pixabay under Creative-Commons license
Understanding economic inequality free course icon Level 1 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Understanding economic inequality

This free course, Understanding economic inequality, explores the causes of economic inequality in modern times and its consequences for success for the economy. The course will encourage you to reflect on your personal experiences of inequality before looking at how the issue is approached in economics. You will study some of the different dimensions of economic inequality, and learn about the main debates on its role in achieving economic success. You will also have the opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of a prime minister and explore what can be done to make economies less unequal.

Free course
6 hrs
Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © vladimir zakharov/Getty Images
Smart cities free course icon Level 1 icon Badge icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Smart cities

This free course will help you to navigate your own path through the complex landscape of smart cities. You’ll hear from smart city innovators and entrepreneurs, city leaders, communities and business, connecting with learners from around the world to reflect on issues facing smart cities of different sizes and situations.

Free course
24 hrs
Scottish courts and the law free course icon Level 1 icon Badge icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Scottish courts and the law

This free course, Scottish courts and the law, explores the role, function and purpose of the courts in Scotland and their relationship with the law. You consider the way in which cases come to court, the difference between the criminal and civil justice systems, the separation of powers, how individuals may become involved with the court system, the alternatives to courts that have evolved in recent decades and future advances that are being considered. You learn about the work of lawyers and the judiciary and explore how Scottish courts and tribunals operate in an open and transparent way working to ensure justice.

Free course
24 hrs
Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © ArtWell/Shutterstock.com
Passports: identity and airports free course icon Level 2 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Passports: identity and airports

This free course, Passports: identity and airports, offers a sociological analysis of the modern airport. Using a lively mixture of videos, interactive exercises and readings, the course explores how the social world of the airport is made and maintained. In particular, it investigates how the processes that constitute this world - queuing, check in, security clearance, moving around and so on - depend on relations between people and material objects.

Free course
8 hrs
Everyday English 1 free course icon

Languages 

Everyday English 1

This free course, Everyday English 1, will develop and improve your essential speaking and listening, reading and writing skills for work, study and everyday life.

Free course
48 hrs
Everyday maths 1 (Wales) free course icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Everyday maths 1 (Wales)

This free course will develop and improve your essential maths skills for work, study and everyday life. The course has four sessions, which cover the following topics: numbers, measurement, shapes and space, and handling data. There will be plenty of examples to help you progress, together with opportunities to practise your understanding. A Welsh-language version of this course is also hosted on OpenLearn Cymru. Everyday maths 1 was written by Bedford College Group in partnership with Middlesbrough College, West Herts College and The Open University, in collaboration with Coleg Cambria, Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales, Coleg Gwent and the NPTC Group of Colleges.

Free course
48 hrs
Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Vectorios2016; Getty Images
Rising China and Africa's development: oil free course icon Level 2 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Rising China and Africa's development: oil

China has emerged as a global economic superpower over the past few decades. This has sparked intense academic and popular debate about the long-term implications of its continued growth. The expansion of China into African countries in pursuit of natural resources has incited particular controversy – does it spell increased cooperation between developing countries for mutual benefit or are Chinese practices largely exploitative, signalling a new phase of neo-colonialism? This free course, Rising China and Africa's development: oil, considers the impact of the rise of China on Africa’s development through the lens of oil production.

Free course
15 hrs
Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Learning from audio-visual material: Introducing surveillance free course icon Level 2 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Learning from audio-visual material: Introducing surveillance

Looking at the theme of surveillance as a multifaceted everyday practice, this free course, Learning from audio-visual material: Introducing surveillance, will show you the value of using audio visual material in your learning. It will show you how to develop the skills you need to make the most of learning from DVDs.

Free course
3 hrs
Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Learning from audio visual material: Migrants and borders free course icon Level 2 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Learning from audio visual material: Migrants and borders

This free course, Learning from audio visual material: Migrants and borders, provides you with a further opportunity to practise the learning from audio visual material skills you learned in DD208_1. You should have completed DD208_1 before commencing with this course.

Free course
5 hrs
Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Getting started with SPSS free course icon Level 1 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Getting started with SPSS

Handling statistical data is an essential part of psychological research. However, many people find the idea of using statistics, and especially statistical software packages, extremely daunting. This free course, Getting started with SPSS, takes a step-by-step approach to statistics software through seven interactive activities. No statistics software is needed.

Free course
3 hrs
What is politics? free course icon Level 2 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

What is politics?

This free course, What is politics?, introduces you to the world of politics. It is dedicated primarily to answering the question of what politics is. Although the question might seem rather simple, it elicits various, often contradictory responses. As you will realise, in politics as in much of the humanities and social sciences definitive answers are difficult to come by. What politics is and equally, who does it, and where it is done are hotly debated and highly contested. This OpenLearn course will introduce you to some of these debates, and their implications for the study and practice of politics.

Free course
15 hrs
Page 1 of 13
Page 1 of 13