You've seen how Bettany Hughes discusses original documents and how individual enthusiasts have researched episodes and scenes from the past. To use these documents we need to understand not just their content, but also the circumstances in which they were produced. Working with documents characterises the teaching of history at the OU.
For example, were judicial confessions extracted under torture? Did witnesses to crimes write their own statements? To what use were such documents put subsequently?
These questions are the bread-and-butter of historians and this sceptical approach to the documentary evidence of the past characterises all Open University history courses.
Entry Level Courses:
The Open University has degree-level history courses dealing with particular historical periods and teaching skills of analysis of primary and secondary materials. If you are interested in studying history with the Open University and you have not previously studied at degree level, you are strongly recommended to start with A103 An Introduction to the Humanities which teaches not just historical skills, but essay-writing and skills in reading and analysing many different kinds of writing and artifacts.
An Introduction to the Humanities (A103) This course will guide you through basic introductions to studying all the eight subject areas taught in the Arts Faculty, including history.
Level 3 Courses:
For a fuller guide to history courses, visit The Open University course pages