You've been told to stay at home, in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. What can you do instead? From writing a novel to stargazing, we've got plenty of things for you to take up while you're isolating. Take a look at the FREE tools and courses below and let's come out of this with more knowledge than ever!
Have you been itching to get your first novel started and haven't known where to begin? Well we know where - here! Start with Ten top tips for writing a novel. Then delve into the resources below:
Start writing fiction is a free course that helps you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters.Learn more ❯Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Do you want to improve your descriptive writing? This free course, Writing what you know, will help you to develop your perception of the world about you and enable you to see the familiar things in everyday life in a new light. You will also learn how authors use their own personal histories to form the basis of their work.Learn more ❯Writing what you know
This free course, Creative writing and critical reading, explores the importance of reading as part of a creative writer’s development at the postgraduate level. You will gain inspiration and ideas from examining other writers’ methods, as well as enhancing your critical reading skills. Examples will cover the genres of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and scriptwriting.Learn more ❯Creative writing and critical reading
Learn a language
We may not be able to travel far at present but that doesn't stop us from going on a virtual language tour! Where in the world are you headed?
- Hafan: Exploring Welsh Language and Culture
- Beginners' Spanish: Food and Drink
- Intermediate German: The World of Work
- Beginners' Italian: Food and Drink
- Beginners' French: A Trip to Avignon
How are your language skills? Heading off on a trip to Spain, France or Italy and want to know how you'd fare getting by? Find out with our virtual, interactive adventures and test your language skills on the way!Take part now ❯Test your language skills: Spanish, French and Italian
Learn about the concepts and skills required to learn languages successfully. This free course, How to learn a language, introduces the skills and strategies for language learning, setting realistic goals when learning languages and keeping motivated, practise speaking skills and vocabulary learning strategies. It will enable you to evaluate resources and create a virtual immersion environment.Learn more ❯How to learn a language
Explore how you can dig a little deeper in languages with The OU.
Succeed in the workplace
Perhaps this time has made you revaluate your working life? Check out our badged course, and if you are returning to a in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM), feast your eyes on our interactive toolkit. You can also check out our full collection of badged open courses on employability.
Do you want to change jobs, are you just starting in the job market or may be returning after a break? If so, then this free course, Succeed in the workplace, is for you. It will help you explore career opportunities. You will also gain the skills to write strong CVs and application forms, and to handle different types of interviews. By the end of the course you will have made a start on your own realistic and strong action plan to enable you to find a job that will fulfil your aspirations and suit your lifestyle.Learn more ❯Succeed in the workplace
The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
Reboot Your STEM Career
Returning to a STEM career? Reboot Your STEM Career is a comprehensive interactive toolkit to help you relaunch your career and navigate your way back into the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Build on areas such as work-life balance, professional skills, entering the world of work, how to present yourself, searching for jobs and how to network.Take part now ❯Reboot Your STEM Career
Quarantine is bound to have an impact on our physical and mental health. Maybe you'd like to use this as an opportunity to go on health kick, or maybe you want to concentrate on your mental health and wellbeing instead - we've got you covered with our free courses and articles.
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 have developed from ancient methods, and how scientists ensure that products are safe to drink. The course also looks at the biological effects of alcohol, and how it affects the human body.Learn more ❯The science of alcohol
This free course, Exploring health: is your lifestyle really to blame?, explores the extent to which a person's 'lifestyle' impacts on their health and wellbeing. It also examines how non-lifestyle related factors – in particular social, economic, cultural and political dimensions – influence a person's health.Learn more ❯Exploring health: is your lifestyle really to blame?
This free course, The science of nutrition and healthy eating, looks at the science behind nutrition, covering aspects of biology, chemistry and physics as well as giving some insight into healthier eating. Reading food labels, choosing healthier foods, hydrating appropriately and understanding how we taste food will allow you to be more informed about the choices you make about the food you eat.Learn more ❯The science of nutrition and healthy eating
Mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment, whilst at the same time accepting your feelings, thoughts, and body’s sensations. But why does mindfulness matter?Read now ❯Five reasons why you should care about mindfulness
Each year thousands of pounds are spent on medications to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression. These medications often have negative side effects. Exercise is an alternative treatment that is low cost and has few side effects. In this free course, Exercise and mental health, we will look at the links between exercise and improved mental health and psychological well-being. This will include consideration of the role of exercise in combating stress, anxiety and depression, and in enhancing mood.Learn more ❯Exercise and mental health
This free course, Exploring issues in women's health, will introduce social model approaches to health and wellbeing, which take as their starting point not the scientific context of the body, but the social context in which women live. The focus is on women and the impact of social and cultural factors on women's health. The course touches on various issues concerning women's health, such as abortion, periods, the menopause, mental health and fertility.Learn more ❯Exploring issues in women's health
- Make sure you check out our Mind, Body, Media hub for a collection of free resources from Open University academics to ensure the wellbeing of you and your family.
You can also get healthy by taking up more exercise; it doesn't have to be strenuous - a bit of a stretch every day or some gentle yoga. Take a look at the boxes below for some inspiration and learn about the importance of recovery and rest before and after exercise.
Aerobic fitness is integral to successful sports performance and to maintaining good health. But what sort of exercise should you be doing to develop your aerobic fitness? This free course, Improving aerobic fitness, will help you to answer this question by introducing you to principles of aerobic exercise prescription.Learn more ❯Improving aerobic fitness
The ability to recover quickly from an intensive training session or match can be extremely advantageous to sports performers. Sport and fitness participants are increasingly using strategies such as ice baths and compression clothing to enhance their recovery from intensive exercise, but how effective are these strategies? Do they really speed up the recovery process? To answer questions such as these this free course ‘Recovery strategies in sport and exercise’ investigates the science behind recovery exploring the physiological processes involved in training and recovery and the potential role of recovery strategies.Learn more ❯Recovery strategies in sport and exercise
Look at the stars!
You might be confined to a small living space, so why not look to our enormous universe and indulge in some amateur astronomy? These courses will help you figure out what to do:
This free course shows you how to navigate the night sky, and introduces the wide variety of objects it contains. You will develop a hands-on understanding of telescopic observations using the Open University’s own robotic telescope facility COAST sited on the island of Tenerife. Supported by your own measurements we illustrate how stars evolve, and study variable stars. For those new to astronomy and/or the use of robotic telescopes this course provides a practical introduction and will prepare you for further OU study where remotely operable telescopes feature.Learn more ❯Astronomy with an online telescope
This free course, Galaxies, stars and planets, is a general introduction, including scale of the universe from the very large to the very small; orbits and gravity; the Solar System; the Sun and other stars; galaxies and the composition of astronomical objects.Learn more ❯Galaxies, stars and planets
Whether you want to mentally motivate yourself for working from home or you've set yourself a squat challenge, we have something to give you that oomph:
This free course explores the term 'motivation' and factors affecting motivation. This includes looking at the most influential theories of motivation that contribute to understanding the causes of motivation. The motivation of sports people and people working in sport and fitness environments are used to help understand the theories presented.Learn more ❯Motivation and factors affecting motivation
The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
Want to achieve your goal? Try our Personal Best tool
Have you got a goal? Whether it is to exercise more, lose a few pounds, or write a novel, our Personal Best App will help you get there.Take part now ❯Want to achieve your goal? Try our Personal Best tool
In this collection of eight videos sporting legends including Michael Johnson, AP McCoy, Dame Sarah Storey and more outline the techniques used to take gold several times.Watch now ❯Chasing Perfection: How do athletes become champions?