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2021: A Year In Review, With OpenLearn

Updated Thursday, 23rd December 2021

We take a look back at some news headlines and stories from throughout the year (we've done our best to avoid lockdowns and Covid in this year's review!) – all with an OpenLearn angle, of course – while we also remind you of the range of free courses, videos, interactives, quizzes and articles we launched across 2021…  

January - COVID Continues… But Trump’s at an End

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The year began as the last one ended… with COVID-19 making all the headlines and remote learning in schools, colleges and universities enforced in the UK. But whereas COVID was set to continue, it was the end of the road for Donald Trump, as the world watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take office. Trump also managed to get himself a social media ban!

Launched on OpenLearn this month: the sexual attitudes interactive No sex please, we’re British & our LGBTQ hub 

February - We Land on Mars, Space Lands on Earth

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February saw the Mars Rover land on the red planet and begin to explore (as can you here), while it was also the month that a piece of ‘space’ fell to Earth, thanks to the Winchcombe meteorite. And we said goodbye to the inspirational Captain Sir Tom Moore, the man who inspired so many to raise money, get walking and support the NHS.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: Art, Loot and the Empire – the story of the Benin bronzes – & our resources for primary school teachers

March - Rashford Scores with Free School Meals

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A ship got stuck in the Suez Canal and Amazon opened its first cashier-less grocery store (discover the supply chain game here), while Marcus Rashford rallied to secure free school meals for those children in need, ensuring they got a healthy meal. And the Sussexes – Harry and Meghan – spoke with Oprah about their encounters with racism.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: Understanding ADHD free course & the Revolutions of the 60s course collection

April - The Not-So-Super League Launches... & Crashes

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On 18 April, 12 of Europe’s biggest football clubs announced plans to form a European Super League. Two days later, 9 of the 12 had pulled out after fan protests. Prince Philip passed away, aged 99; and aged 83, Anthony Hopkins became the oldest Oscar winner for his role in The Father as an elderly man with dementia.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: The digital technologies and innovation in health and social care collection & the Kickstart scheme* partnership

 

May - Is it the End of the Great British High Street?

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May saw the hottest day of the year to date, Leicester City (finally) won the FA Cup, while the UK definitely didn’t win Eurovision, scoring ‘nil points’ for the first time of any country since the new scoring system… maybe they needed this free course? And Debenhams stores all closed, moving to online only.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: Beyond Belief, a film interactive on life after death, & our University Ready hub

June - Alan Turing Is the Face of the £50

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The G7 summit took place in Cornwall and provided the first opportunity for Boris Johnson and Joe Biden to meet. War-time codebreaker, Alan Turing, became the face of the new £50 note. And the new TV news channel GB News was launched in the UK, and it’s been much debated and discussed since, as the phrase ‘fake news’ refuses to go away.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: Get started with Italian & Boost your business, computing and IT skills

July - Liar, Liar!... MP Ejected for Boris Accusation 

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Labour MP, Dawn Butler, was ejected from the House of Commons after calling Boris Johnson a liar (repeatedly). Southern Water were fined a record £90m for dumping around 20m tonnes of raw sewage, while England (and 23 other European teams) were dumped out of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament as Italy won the title.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: What happens when you read? & 60-second adventures in AI

August - Olympians (Eventually) Get Going for Gold

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games finally took place after a year’s delay, but sadly still to empty stadiums and arenas… but the spirit of the Games still shone through. It was also announced that job vacancies in the UK were at a record high, and the growing trend of wildfires continued, this time in Israel, as around 5,000 acres of forest were burned.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: Water on Mars free course & Jumpstart University

September - Petrol Stations Close, But It's Raducanu's Open

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There was a fuel crisis in September… or was there? Was there enough fuel? Was it a shortage of delivery drivers? Or did we cause the problem ourselves by panic buying? Emma Raducanu inspired us with an amazing victory in the US Open, while the latest Bond film was finally released and Bitcoin was accepted for the very first time as legal tender.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: All my own work: exploring academic integrity free course & What is OpenLearn video

October - Climate and Contactless Concerns

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There was flooding across the UK, while on the roads the Insulate Britain protesters went to great lengths to get their climate change point across and Prince William spoke about ‘climate anxiety’ in the world’s young people. The contactless card limit rose to £100, encouraging us to spend; and Facebook became Meta… whatever that really means.

Launched on OpenLearn this month: End of life care animation & how to read the news

November - Good COP, Bad COP, Couldn't Care Less COP?

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You couldn’t escape COP26 in November. For a few weeks it was the biggest news in town, especially if you lived in Glasgow. The issue of racism and racial equality reared its ugly had again, via Yorkshire County Cricket Club.  And weirdly, one man publicised his aim to collect a single chip from every Wetherspoon pub in the UK, as Italy reigned supreme again, this time in the Great British Bake Off!

Launched on OpenLearn this month: A freelance career in the creative arts & Getting started on ancient Greek

December - Tears for Arthur, Cheers for Rose

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December brought us one of the saddest stories of the year, with the heartbreaking and tragic death of young Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, but the UK was uplifted to see deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis win Strictly Come Dancing, raising awareness of British Sign Language in the process. And Max Verstappen won the Formula 1 championship in controversial circumstances… maybe someone needed some tuition in speedy decision-making?

Launched on OpenLearn this month: How to be a better LGBTQI+ Ally & our Codebreak interactive

 

 

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