The Open University
How has the English language influenced your life? How would you define your relationship with English? In this collection these questions are explored by Poet Benjamin Zephaniah, writer Sindiwe Magona, and author Jung Chang amongst others. They discuss the impact of the language; and describe...
Baffled by modern art and architecture? You’re not alone! This collection gives new insight into today’s shifting kaleidoscope of visual culture by placing it in the context of the developments of the 19th and 20th century. In the mid 19th century there was a growing realisation that...
What’s the difference between formal and informal greetings in French? How do people in Paris discuss their daily routines? This second edition of Bon départ contains a variety of short conversations covering topics as varied as ordering a meal in a restaurant or visiting a flat for sale. The...
This is the first course in the University’s Diploma in Spanish. It extends the language skills developed in previous intermediate and introductory courses and includes a compulsory residential school in Spain. The themes of the course range from talking about the past to urbanism. The course is...
Why is Sociology Important? What have been the key trends in social sciences? Sociology is the academic study of social behavior, including its origins, development, organization, and institutions. Social science uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a...
What are the prospects for cooperation or cooperation in the international system? Will states always be primarily concerned with their own security or is progressive change possible in international politics? Does it matter to international politics if states are democratic or not? And what is...
In the late nineteen eighties, Belfast became part of the World Health Organisation's Healthy Cities Project. The aim was to get as many institutions as possible to make health central to their planning and to give the diverse communities of Belfast a real say in their future. What were the...
Have you ever been the victim of crime? Are you fearful of rising crime rates? Crime is one of contemporary society's most pressing social problems - how should we respond to it? This album visits various communities in the UK to explore issues of criminal justice and the introduction of...
Strategic management and planning are no longer the preserve of senior executives. This unit looks at three different approaches to strategy before analysing the direction that strategic management may take now that it has become an accumulation of small tactical decisions rather than a top-down...
How is safety built into the design of new structures? What sort of tests are used to ascertain the safety of proposed designs? Structural integrity, the study of the safe design and assessment of materials and structures under load, has become crucial in engineering design. Concepts within...
What does it mean to be poor, or an immigrant? What form should Aid take? This album begins to explore the complex issues of international development in a globalised world, starting with a look at schemes which attempt to alleviate poverty. Small business owners are empowered by micro-financing...
Why do Muslim women wear the hijab? How do they reconcile different approaches to veiling between generations, across different geographical regions and in different cultural and social environments? How do they negotiate diverse social and cultural influences, pressures and expectations, legal...
Vaccinations are now considered a part of everyday life, but how do they work? This unit will help those with a background in biology understand the historical development of vaccination, assess the various types of vaccines used today, examine their production and explore the limitations that...
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...
Do you know how music is written down? How do musicians use scores in their work? Catherine Tackley and Naomi Barker, of the Open University, explain about different types of music, how it is written down, and what that notation means to performers.
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future. This study unit...
The relationship between sea and land has always been one of dynamic change. Yet, as rising sea levels threaten habitats for wildlife and humans alike, we are today more vulnerable than ever. The 11 video tracks on this album address the complexities of environmental change, focusing on the...
Can a location inspire great poetry? To what extent can a person’s environment influence their art? After leaving the area as a child the Romantic poet William Wordsworth returned to the Lake District and remained there from 1799 to 1802. Surrounded by scenery he cherished Wordsworth composed...
How do you get to be one of the great operatic divas? Catherine Rogers might just have what it takes to be a famous opera singer, but she still has lots of work to do. This album gives us an insight into the immense effort it requires to become a musical performer. As well as singing, acting,...
In many cultures, song is perhaps one of the most important traditions. What is extraordinary about the Inuit musical tradition is the way they create their songs - with notes originating from their throats. The song isn't interrupted even when a breath has to be taken. The 6 tracks in this...
How do people greet each other and introduce themselves in Spanish? How do they talk about their lives or their everyday activities? This second edition of Portales: beginners' Spanish contains a variety of short conversations covering topics ranging from ordering a meal to discussing holiday...
Do you want to improve your German while learning about life and culture in Germany and Austria? The 20 tracks in this album are devised as a revision of some post-beginners structures and vocabulary as well as an introduction to different aspects of everyday life in German speaking countries....
Wind energy was the fastest growing power source at the starts of the 21st century, yet wind-driven mills and pumps, and nautical sails for transport, were, along with waterwheels, the first mechanical devices to power industrial production. The advantages of harnessing wind energy are obvious;...
In the last century which women writers have truly challenged the existing forms of literature? How did they make their voices heard using brand new techniques and styles? For centuries there have been women writers who have changed the face of literature, but we tend to talk of their lives and...
What are are they key factors to successful therapy? This series looks at three elements important to producing a positive outcome. Firstly, the therapist and client need to have a good relationship. Secondly, the therapist needs need to be able to give the client their full attention. Finally...
In commemoration of Handel's 250th anniversary, world renowned Handel scholar and Open University Professor Donald Burrows introduces one of the most famous composers of the eighteenth century. Devised for non-musicians and beginners, the 5 video and 5 audio tracks in this album explore the music...
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, so just how has it managed to develop a wireless network and promote innovation? This collection explores how Nepal has developed its digital technological infrastructure, how it is still developing from a complex political background and gives...
Why do Mergers and acquisitions happen? What are the factors that motivate companies to buy sell and incorporate other organisations? In these uncertain economic times it is of paramount importance for companies to be able to weather financial instability while maintaining a profitable business...
Can a driven individual shatter academic stereo-types through a passion for education? How does a love of science or engineering help you overcome educational difficulties, or even poverty? Writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah talks with acclaimed figures in the areas of science, technology and...
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, so just how has it managed to develop a wireless network and promote innovation? This collection explores how Nepal has developed its digital technological infrastructure, how it is still developing from a complex political background and gives...
The legal issues involved in setting up and running a business can be complex and confusing, especially when some of the terms used don't seem to have clear meanings. This unit from the College of Law gives a basic introduction to the legal concepts of companies, partnerships, assets and...
The big issue of the 21st century is the impact burning fossil fuels is having on the global environment. This album considers what will happen when fossil fuels run out. What oil and gas resources have we got left and how can we sustain them? The two video tracks explore the connection between...
Is running a football club part of the entertainment business, a rich man’s hobby, a community asset or all three? And what difference does it make if you’re a club outside the Premiership? Here club chairmen, fans, players and other executives talk about the unusual nature of the football...
Can Darwin's theory of evolution be applied to languages? If so what are the analogues for natural selection and species diversification? What truths does this approach reveal and what problems does it throw up? In this album Professor Mark Pagel of Reading University and Quentin Atkinson, an...
How do you discuss the weather or make a hotel reservation in German? This second edition of Rundblick: beginners' German contains a variety of short conversations covering topics as varied as healthy eating and recommending restaurants. The following audio and video collection was devised for...
Why does each musical instrument have its own unique sound? What exactly distinguishes a guitar from a fiddle? Follow the story as we find out exactly how a musical note is produced and how to create the sound of silence. This material forms part of The Open University course MU120 Open mathematics.
In Ethiopia, 65% of people don’t have access to clean drinking water. In this album we take a glimpse at the struggles Ethiopians go through each day, just to survive. We look closely at the different methods used to improve the quality of life in the rural highlands as well as the conflict...
Effective communication is the key to a successful presentation. This unit will provide you with a systematic approach to develop the necessary skills. It is important to understand that effective presentation skills can be practised and learned. It is the content of your presentation, and the...
The world of the early modern period (C10th - C16th) was one of religious obsession, power struggles and plunder. But it was also a world of stunning artistic endeavour. This collection shows how, encoded in the art and architecture of the time, you can find stories of political machinations,...
The coexistence of multiple religious communities has been a source of both opposition and diversity since the very foundation of human civilization. This album explores the interaction of competing communities in compelling depth, highlighting periods and cities that experienced turbulence, and...
How - and why - would you build a machine 10,000 times thinner than a human hair? This album features experts discussing the paradigm shift that is occurring in science. Scientists are learning to manipulate atoms on the scale of a billionth of a metre and control them to perform specific tasks....
Have you thought about the journey water makes to get to your taps? What processes has it undergone to make it safe to drink? The tracks in this album examine issues of water supply and treatment in the UK, where each of us uses approximately 150 litres a day! We hear from different parties...
Wales is a vibrant nation with its own language, musical heritage and strong cultural identity. Central to this identity and a source of national pride, is rugby, which is deeply embedded in the national consciousness and explored in ‘Rugby and welsh identity’. Away from the sports pitch, this...
How does a poet represent two distinctly different cultures in their work? How did James Berry interpret his experience and those of other Jamaican’s that migrated to England in the late 1940’s into his writing? James Berry was born in Jamaica in 1924, but moved to England during the wave of...
The ancient Romans constructed some of the first ever purpose-built venues for mass-entertainment. How do these structures enhance the audience’s experience of the spectacle? This album looks at famous Roman buildings like the Colosseum, a venue designed to impress, where vast numbers of people...
Why study religion? An understanding of the world’s religious traditions is crucial in helping us to appreciate not just the varied forms of belief and practice that we encounter at home, abroad and in the media, but also the influence that religion has on world affairs. This course offers an...
In the sub-arctic environment in northern Norway and the high arctic climate of Svalbard, reindeer have adapted to their environment in different ways. The five video tracks in this album explore the key concepts of evolutionary science and investigate how these account for the characteristics...
Human communication is vastly more complex than that of any other species we know about. It is so complex that linguists are only just beginning to identify the processes in the brain that are related to understanding language. This unit looks at how language is understood by taking an...
Understanding mountain building involves unraveling how and why rocks deform. Geologists Nigel Harris and John Whalley tour the Scottish segment of the Caledonian orogenic Belt to untangle the kinematics and the chronology of deformation. This material forms part of The Open University course...
How much do you think about what you throw away? A waste management cycle is essential for a sustainable future. This album considers the policy and legislation that is driving waste management processes across the EU. By modelling the overall environmental impacts of solid waste disposal...