The Open University
In the world of economics, does a person’s well-being really matter? What is more important, social objectives or profit maximisation – or are they even compatible? During a trip to Burma in 1955, Ernest Schumacher pioneered the concept of Buddhist Economics, a set of principles based on the...
Although what constitutes justice may vary depending on culture or historical context, all forms of justice are built on a foundation of moral assumptions that include ideas about ethics, fairness and the law. Philosophers have often debated the nature of both morality and justice and their...
The law and aspects of the legal system have a massive impact on the lives of social workers, from defining policy and procedure to the actual process of day-to-day working. This album presents an encompassing and engrossing look at the interaction between legal and social teams, and how...
Revenue, profit and loss, balance sheets – are these accounting terms that intimidate you? This unit will help you to understand the very basics of accounting, from its historical beginnings to the objectives of modern day accountants. You will learn how an accountant in business balances...
What happens if children aren’t making progress with language and literacy, and what sort of learning impairments might be the cause? How can the study of children’s thinking help us to understand these learning difficulties? This album offers insights into some of the problems faced by children...
We encounter designed products every day, from bus tickets to buildings. We travel on, wear and even eat products that have been designed. What it is like to be a designer? What are the design processes that generate products? The 28 video tracks on this album reveal the importance of creativity...
Exploring the classical world introduces texts by Homer, Horace, Juvenal and others, placing them in their social and political context and assessing their value as historical sources. Readings in the original Latin or Greek and in translation illustrate the metric structures used and the...
Today, listening to music is easy - we have CDs, MP3s, radio, television and the internet. But around a hundred years ago life was very different - either you had to play music yourself or have someone else play it for you. The 15 video tracks in this album demonstrate various ways to play music...
2011 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest figures in Western Philosophy – David Hume. As well as an economist and historian, Hume was specifically known for his scepticism and empiricism, and was also an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment period in the 18th...
The Galapagos Islands are famous for inspiring Charles Darwin to form his Theory of Evolution based on the biodiversity he'd observed there. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of his "On the origin of species", and the unspoilt islands still fascinate researchers. Some of...
The nature of royal weddings as very public declarations of love can cause us to reflect on love and partnership – and on 29th April 2011 when Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot, the royal couple took a vow that declared a commitment to love and cherish ‘til death do us part’. But...
This unit introduces the parts of the body and processes involved in the development of diabetes. This study unit is just one of many that can be found on LearningSpace, part of OpenLearn, a collection of open educational resources from The Open University. Published in ePub 2.0.1 format, some...
How many times have you used mathematics today? Starting with Maths takes a detailed look into the history behind numbers and how mathematics has evolved into something we use in everyday life. We hear the experiences of people who rely heavily on accurate calculations for the success of their...
This series of tracks concentrates on an ancient city, Thugga, and looks at the influence of the Roman Empire on the city and the existing culture. Material is taken from The Open University Course AA309 Culture, identity and power in the Roman empire.
This unit considers some of the different ways of reading Great Expectations, based on the type of genre the book belongs to. This is one of the most familiar and fundamental ways of approaching literary texts. The novel broadens the scope of study of a realist novel, in both literary and...
What can archaeological remains tell us about early cities and the people who lived in them? This album examines the important remains of one city, Poseidonia in Italy, founded towards the end of the 7th century BCE by colonists from the Greek city of Sybaris. Although only twenty-five per...
Throughout history great orators have been able to capture a shift in the zeitgeist, and tap into an audience’s emotions. Speeches by John. F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill are considered among the greatest speeches of all time; but what made their speeches greater than the sum of their parts -...
Ever wondered what it would be like to study philosophy? This unit will introduce you to the teaching methods employed and the types of activities and assignments you would be asked to undertake should you wish to study the OU module A211 Philosophy and the human situation. This study unit is...
If you already have a working knowledge of the Spanish language this unit will help to improve you ability to describe places, events and routines in the past. By using Medieval Spain as the setting you will learn crucial grammatical points regarding the preterite and imperfect tenses. This study...
Charles Dickens was not only the most famous writer of his day, but, during the second half of his career, also a prominent public figure known through his readings and speeches. He cultivated, and relished, a close relationship with the vast audiences who came to hear him, in towns and cities...
Are ancient sculptures ethnographic artefacts or works of art? How can objects like these throw light on the relationship of our culture to other cultures, both in the past and in the present? This album explores some of the issues surrounding interpretation and display of bronze sculptures...
How do you create depth and tone on paper? How do you create a cd case from scratch? Steve Garner, Professor of Design at The Open University answers these questions and others in this introduction to design basics. All design begins with translating ideas on to a canvas, and this collection...
The use of grammar is more complex than it appears. This unit looks at the way grammar can be used as a tool for adapting our communications (both written and spoken) in ways which present us and our message in different lights. This study unit is just one of many that can be found on...
The Linux Operating System is 20 years old. This podcast series, presented by the Senior Lecturer in Computing at The Open University, Blaine Price, tells the story of an extraordinary operating system that in two short decades has grown from a students’ project to the foundation of the internet....
This unit helps you to acquire the basic language to find your way around a French town. You will learn how to understand and give directions, ask about accommodation, book a hotel room at the tourist information office and get information about what to see and do in the local area. You will...
How do you create depth and tone on paper? How do you create a cd case from scratch? Steve Garner, Professor of Design at The Open University answers these questions and others in this introduction to design basics. All design begins with translating ideas on to a canvas, and this collection...
Reading and note taking are two essential study skills. How do you read? This unit will introduce you to different techniques to help you to alter the way you read according to the type of material you are studying. You will also learn the techniques behind successful note taking and how to apply...
How do retailers decide where to locate new stores? Why do consumers behave in a particular manner? How does a frozen pea get from harvest to a supermarket freezer? How do independent and online businesses compete with high street chains? These are just some of the many questions answered...
Thanks to cutting edge technology, scientists can peer deeper into space than ever before. The audio tracks in this album feature Dr Robert Lambourne and Dr Stephen Serjeant of The Open University's Department of Physics and Astronomy. They introduce the origin of relativistic cosmology and share...
What is a microbe and what have they ever done for us? From Black Death to Cholera, and Syphilis to Typhoid, microbes have been responsible for some of the world’s most devastating diseases. But they have also provided the human race with the technological advances of genetic engineering and...
How humans think, develop, and experience the world around us has been fascinating psychologists for over 100 years. The tracks in this album cover a range of case studies, looking at factors which can influence the development of our personalities. What is the impact of significant people in our...
Geometry is concerned with the various aspects of size, shape and space. In this unit, you will explore the concepts of angles, shapes, symmetry, area and volume through interactive activities. This study unit is just one of many that can be found on LearningSpace, part of OpenLearn, a collection...
The splendidly evocative ruins of ancient Rome have long been a challenge to historians and archaeologists in reconstructing how it looked and functioned. It became the largest city in the western world during the imperial period, so how was the city constructed, and what were the materials used?...
The Musée du Louvre houses 35,000 works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but how were they brought together as a collection? This unit examines the importance of art through history and the impact of personality and conflict. This study unit is just one of many that can be...
How does your body control your breathing unconsciously? This album explores this complex process in fascinating detail using a battery of detectors attached to human guinea-pigs to monitor their breathing, blood flow and heartbeats. How does an anxious mind affect this system during a stressful...
On September 11 2001, hijackers took control of four aircraft and crashed into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, in events that changed the world forever. It raised questions not only about the United States’ foreign policy but also about its assumed dominance as the leading international...
The Acropolis is one of the most famous ancient sites in the world. Rising over the city of Athens 150 metres above sea level, it consists of several significant archaeological remains of temples dedicated to various deities, and civic buildings. This album offers a chance to tour the Acropolis...
How do you start to design a product? Can drawing techniques be learned? And why is modelling such a useful technique? This album introduces the basic skills necessary to communicate ideas on paper, as well as revealing the step-by-step processes for making three-dimensional models of objects,...
What is your experience of work and what did you learn from this experience? This unit will enable you to reflect upon what you have learned from work and support you in improving how you learn at work. It will encourage you to think critically about work-based learning and review your own...
Want to learn the basics in French? The 18 audios in the album are devised for beginner learners of French and include a series of short conversations in which you will hear people greeting each other, asking how to get somewhere, asking who someone is, buying things, ordering breakfast in a café...
The aim of this unit is to enable you to get started in Classical Greek. It has been developed in response to requests from students who had had no contact with Greek before and who felt they would like to spend a little time preparing for the kind of learning that takes place on a classical...
Have you ever wanted to pick up a video camera and make a short video or film, but felt intimidated by your lack of knowledge? The explosion of film-making for websites and mobiles gives people and organisations the opportunity to tell their stories and show what they have to offer, at low cost. ...
Do you want to get more out of your reading? This unit is designed to develop the analytical skills you need for a more in-depth study of literary texts. You will learn about narrative events and perspectives, the setting of novels, types of characterisation and genre. This study unit is just one...
Do you want to learn some basics in Mandarin Chinese? The tracks presented here are designed to give you a taste of Mandarin Chinese language and culture. You’ll hear short conversations where people greet each other, introduce themselves and their families, describe where they come from and what...
Do you want to improve your Spanish? The 14 tracks in this album are devised as revision of basic Spanish structures for introductions, talking about routines, describing people and places, making comparisons, expressing likes, making plans, talking about the future, and expressing wishes. The...
Genomes are composed of DNA, and a knowledge of the structure of DNA is essential to understand how it can function as hereditary material. DNA is remarkable, breathtakingly simple in its structure yet capable of directing all the living processes in a cell, the production of new cells and the...
How and why did ancient Romans use myth to validate their power? Emperor Augustus legitimised his rule by entwining his own ancestry with the mythical stories of Rome's foundation, and created a divine aura around Rome as capital of the vast empire. This album visits key emblems associated with...
We live in a complex, fast changing and highly social world. One of the most compelling questions we face is how to understand ourselves and other people. The video tracks on this album introduce the four main theoretical perspectives in social psychology - cognitive, psychoanalytical,...
This unit is taken from Portales, a language module that concentrates on Spanish as a tool for communication, but it also provides some insights into Hispanic societies and cultures through authentic printed and audio materials. It will be of interest to all those who want to improve their...
This series of clips covers a variety of issues about Spanish culture and society. Material is taken from The Open University Course L194 Portales: beginners' Spanish.