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OpenLearn Live: 23rd October 2015

Updated Friday, 23rd October 2015

What happens when you add Italian design to a British workhorse? What difference has Open Access made? And more free learning through the day.

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OpenLearn Live: Making the links between the worlds of learning and research, and the worlds we all live in. You can follow us on Twitter.

Yesterday, we caught up with the US election and asked if we're overcounting migration numbers

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Today's posts

Getting match-fit again

Playing seven matches in a six week period might not sound like rugby players have the most gruelling schedule - someone who has worked two back-to-back shifts waiting on tables or cleaning hotels might find it hard to shed many tears for their athletes - but the demands of modern sport puts huge strains on human bodies. How do they recovery? The OU's Caroline Heaney explains:

Compression garments are the items of tight clothing worn by athletes that have highly elastic properties which provide compression. These garments have become commonplace in rugby, but what is the theory behind them and why are they thought to aid recovery? It is logical to assume that compression is beneficial to recovery due to some of its other uses e.g. in the treatment of sports injuries or the use of flight socks to avoid developing deep vein thrombosis. Compression garments are suggested to enhance recovery by reducing the swelling and inflammation that occurs in response to intensive exercise. The theory is that the compression creates an external pressure gradient thus minimising the space available for swelling, but what does the research evidence show?

Read: Recovery at the Rugby World Cup

The part-time student squeeze

An obsession with teenage students is hurting part-time study in the university sector, says John Butcher:

Any notion of students “choosing” to study part-time were seen as a meaningless illusion. Learners were faced with a Hobson’s choice in which there is only really one option: it was either part-time or nothing, since the costs associated with full-time were too great, and students feared the perceived inflexibility of full-time higher education. Two key motivations for studying part-time emerged from the research – improving employment prospects, followed closely by those who identified themselves as grabbing a second chance, having missed out at age 18.

Individual students were desperate for greater flexibility to enable them to cope with their studies. Over a third reported missing a formal element of their course due to personal and work demands. They bemoaned feeling part-timers were an “inconvenience” in their institutions, “side-lined” and “shoe-horned” into existing full-time structures.

Read: How is a universities obsession hurting part-time students?

The TalkTalk data breach

The size of the cyberattack on TalkTalk is becoming clearer as the day develops - although the company doesn't yet know how many of its four million customers have been affected. Here's some background to help you understand the story:

Watch our series of short videos introducing cybercrime

TalkTalk's Dido Harding talking to the OU's Leslie Budd in 2012 about customer service & disruption

Try our free course on cybersecurity

Ten years of Open Access Research

Back in October 2005, the Wellcome Trust made a significant change to its funding regime. In future, if your research was funded by Wellcome, you had to make your research open within six months of publication. Since then, 156 other funders and 514 Universities have introduced similar open access policies. As a result, one in five of the research projects in the UK over the last two years have been open access.

Read: 10 years of Open Access at The Wellcome Trust

Visit the OU's Research website

ICYMI: This week's highlights

If you've been busy this week, you might have missed some of our things, so we've gathered some of those things into a small bouquet:

Breaking cars: The Morris Ital

This week, to mark Building Cars Live, we've been exploring the histories of some cars which didn't perform as well as hoped. If you've missed any, this week so far has featured:

As we arrive at our destination, we're going to return to the British car industry of the 1980s - a phrase it's hard to type without adding "beleagured" to. We're going to take the Morris Ital for a spin.

Morris Ital Copyright free  image Icon Copyright free: Charles01

The nationalised British Leyland had enjoyed success during the 1970s with the Morris Marina. A British riposte to the Ford Escort, it wasn't the greatest car in the world, but it was popular and even loved, in its way. But as the end of the decade neared, it was starting to look dated. BL was further hampered by the lack of a model in its range that was one step up - in competition with the Ford Cortina. Plans were laid to overhaul offering - the cars which would eventually become the Maestro and the Montego were already on the drawing board - but something needed to be done to plug that gap while they were being developed. The Morris Ital was driven into that gap.


Blimey. That sounds good, doesn't it? The advert and the name might have given the impression that the car was a piece of Italian design, but that's a slight stretch of the truth. Giorgetto Giugiaro and the Ital Design house had been loosely involved with the project, but the bulk of the development had been handled back in Birmingham by Harris Mann. Mann had worked with a tiny budget and not much room to do anything other than tinker a bit with the existing Marina; Ital Design just took the designs and handled the productionisation - turning them into something that could actually be manufactured. The design house was less than thrilled with BL's implication that they had been more involved; BL were happy enough for the impression to take hold

But for all the sleight of hand, and despite a management decision to drop plans to call the car The Marina Ital, it was impossible to pretend that this was little more than a Marina which had spent a couple of weeks on an exchange trip to Turin. It shared its predecessor's propensity to rust, and - although having a slightly improved engine - it still clung to rear wheeel drive while competitors were moving forward. It remained on sale for nearly four years while BL worked on its new cars, but very few remain on the road today (except in the form of piles of ferric oxide). The AA has an Ital van, which appears to have survived because it didn't get out much, and Ital owners are welcomed into the family of Marina enthusiasts, but mostly the Ital stands a warning that you can't rely on cosemtic redesigns to solve deeper problems with a product.

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