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.

Geography
Grid List Results: 11 items
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Vectorios2016; Getty Images
Rising China and Africa's development: oil free course icon Level

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: © ArtWell/Shutterstock.com
Passports: identity and airports free course icon Level

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
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Who counts as a refugee? free course icon Level

Society, Politics & Law 

Who counts as a refugee?

The words 'refugee' and 'asylum seeker' have a wide variety of connotations in Britain, many of them negative. This free course, Who ------ as a refugee?, explores how changing social policy and terminology help to shape, and are shaped by, the experiences of people seeking asylum in the UK.

Free course
10 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Photo: © 2017. Art Resource/Bob Schalkwijk/Scala, Florence. © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./DACS 2018
Art and the Mexican Revolution free course icon Level

History & The Arts 

Art and the Mexican Revolution

In this free course, Art and the Mexican Revolution, you will explore one of Diego Rivera’s key murals which was commissioned by the Mexican government in the period after the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920. These monumental public artworks, designed to win over the Mexican peasantry and working-class to the new post-revolutionary state, brought Mexican mural artists international acclaim and Rivera was subsequently awarded important commissions in the United States. Yet, due to his commitment to a figurative form of propaganda, Rivera’s reputation suffered during the Cold War period and these Mexican murals are now largely left out of dominant accounts of twentieth-century United States art.

Free course
7 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: © Tobias Helbig/ iStockphoto
‘Land grab’: an environmental issue? free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

‘Land grab’: an environmental issue?

This free course, ‘Land grab’: an environmental issue?, explores how environmental problems are entangled with economic and political issues and offers tools for making sense of the complexity that results. The case of land grab illustrates how everyday issues such as food prices are caught up in connections that link different places, different people and their livelihoods across the globe; connections that are brought to life in the course through rich audio-visual material and interactive activities.

Free course
8 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: RolfAasa
Mosquito resistance to insecticides free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology 

Mosquito resistance to insecticides

Learn about how allele frequency can change rapidly in a population in response to selective pressure by considering how evolutionary change can occur in insects that are exposed to insecticides. This free course, Mosquito resistance to insecticides, further demonstrates how traits that are advantageous in one environment can have effects that are disadvantageous in other environments, a situation known as a trade-off.

Free course
3 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Why maps are made free course icon Level

Society, Politics & Law 

Why maps are made

Cars have sat nav systems, mobile phones use GPS: maps are important in everyday life whether captured by aerial photography, satellite imagery or simply drawn. This free course, Why maps are made, looks at how we read and evaluate the information in maps and assesses the values embedded within them. From mental maps to public transport and street maps: how do they affect your life?

Free course
8 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Who are Europeans? free course icon Level

Society, Politics & Law 

Who are Europeans?

What is Europe and what defines a European? This free course, Who are Europeans?, looks at the development of identities within Europe and the European Union. You will ------ the mechanisms through which a new identity commitment is being formed and the limitations of and oppositions to this process. Can a genuine European identity ever be created in an expanding multicultural European Union?

Free course
8 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
What is Europe? free course icon Level

Society, Politics & Law 

What is Europe?

The European Union (EU), formed out of the ashes of the Second World War, continues to expand in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite the EU's growing size and significance, the question 'What is Europe?' still resonates through the continent. This free course looks at a range of different views on the question, contrasting different conceptions of Europeanness and outlining competing visions for the future of the EU.

Free course
10 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Managing the European economy after the introduction of the Euro free course icon Level

Society, Politics & Law 

Managing the European economy after the introduction of the Euro

The Euro was first adopted as a currency in 1999, but what impact has it had on the European economy? This free course, Managing the European economy after the introduction of the Euro, looks at the key developments in the economy since that date and examines the challenges of economic policy formation and governance of the EU's expanding economy.

Free course
8 hrs
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
A Europe of the Regions? free course icon Level

Society, Politics & Law 

A Europe of the Regions?

What role will the 'regions' play in the emerging governance structures of the European Union? This free course, A Europe of the Regions?, examines the rise of the regions and regionalism in Western Europe. You will look at the possible development pathways for Europe: will it become a federal super-state or a decentralised 'Europe of the Regions'?

Free course
8 hrs