OpenLearn is an educational website. It is the UK's Open University's contribution to the Open educational resources (OER) project and the home of free, open learning from The Open University.[5] The original project was part-funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.[6]

OpenLearn is a member of the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC).[7]

The Open University OpenLearn
Other name
MottoLearn and Live
FounderHarold Wilson[1]
Jennie Lee[1]
Walter Perry[1]
Peter Venables[1]
ChancellorBaroness Lane-Fox of Soho[2]
Vice-ChancellorMary Kellett (acting)
Milton Keynes (main campus)
United Kingdom
48 hectares (0.48 km2)[4]
AffiliationsUniversity Alliance
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools


OpenLearn dates back to 1999, when, an Open University-BBC collaboration, gave a first home to free learning resources that the public could interact with without the need to sign up to study a university course.[8] [9] The Open University launched the OpenLearn brand with the LearningSpace website in October 2006 to provide free access to extracts of educational materials generated as part of course production. The publication of such structured learning materials, designed for distance education, is unique in the field of open educational resources.

LearningSpace and came together under the same OpenLearn brand in 2010, creating a single home for all free learning from The Open University.

It also aggregates videos and audio made available via other Open University channels, such as iTunesU, YouTube and AudioBoo.

Since 2014, it has also been republishing The Open University's courses from FutureLearn, providing a space where learners unwilling or unable to commit to FutureLearn's weekly learning model can follow courses to their own timetable.

Fundamentals of the program

Open Education materials make three contributions. They make new knowledge available to all (not just the few who can pay for it). They allow users to download, modify, translate and adapt to their culture to the material to enhance its usefulness. They provide the opportunity for people to work together to co-modify, co-produce, test and co-produce again, retesting derivative material which generates a cycle of rapid continuous improvement. Using technology Open Educational Resources aim to remove access barriers to knowledge and educational opportunities around the world.

Through the Moodle-based virtual learning environment, learners are offered over 600 structured media-rich study units, supported by a number of learning and communication tools in the Free Courses area. Personal profiles, learning journals and rating options empower learners to become self publishers and reviewers, tagging their entries to provide a means by which others can find and connect with their ideas. Knowledge mapping software enables learners to visually represent resources and the links between them, to construct arguments and frame debates. By publishing their work online, they share their own pathways through the material with other visitors to the website.

The OpenLearn website also provides a standalone experience for the learner, but is also one that can be taken apart and remixed to take on a new form. The Web 2.0 approach to an open and collaborative LearningSpace primarily for learners, is complemented by OpenLearn Create(formerly Labspace and OpenLearnWorks), an area for experimentation, where educational practitioners are encouraged to download, amend and adapt both current and archived course materials. Published under an Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial Creative Commons license, the Open University media-rich materials can be reused in alternative educational settings, repurposed for a local context, translated and built upon to form a larger open repository of derivative educational materials. Collaborators are encouraged to form their own areas within the LabSpace to personalise the materials, increasing the relevance of the content for specific learning communities and to test out course ideas and develop materials based on user feedback.

Viral content

OpenLearn enables viral content not just through its licensing model, but also through a commitment to open technologies. The use of an open source virtual learning environment, along with the ability for people to download and upload materials in various formats (from an RSS to a print to an IMS Common Cartridge) encourages replication of the content and enables interoperability with other provider's content management systems. Innovators have already re-published OpenLearn materials in new environments by implementing a variety of freely available technologies. The materials have been replicated in offline desktop libraries to provide access for remote communities around the world. RSS feeds enable the content to be easily embedded in web based widgets and RSS readers, allowing the engagement with the content to happen away from OpenLearn.

OpenLearn Create

By the end of the first phase of funding (30 April 2008), OpenLearn hosted more than five thousand hours of core OU materials and additional user generated content in the LabSpace area of the site.

In 2012, the LabSpace area was overhauled to give a better user experience and a tighter focus on collaboration with partners. The area was rebranded OpenLearn Works.[10] The site has since been further developed and redesigned, changing its name to OpenLearn Create in 2017. [11]


  1. ^ a b c d "History of The Open University". The Open University. 2018-06-13. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  2. ^ "Chancellor of The Open University". November 2014. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Table 1 All students by HE institution, level of study, mode of study and domicile 2012/13" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  4. ^ "The Open University – Estates and Building Facilities". Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  5. ^ Daniel, John; Killion, David (4 July 2012). "Are open educational resources the key to global economic growth?". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Our story – How OpenLearn started" Archived 14 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine – Open University
  7. ^ Open Education Consortium Members
  8. ^ "Looking For". OpenLearn. The Open University. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  9. ^ "The OpenLearn team". OpenLearn. The Open University. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  10. ^ "OpenLearnWorks". OpenLearn Works. The Open University. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  11. ^ "OpenLearnCreate". The Open University. Retrieved 19 October 2018.

External links

Bang Goes the Theory

Bang Goes the Theory or Bang was a British television science magazine series, co-produced by the BBC and the Open University, that began on 27 July 2009 and ended on 5 May 2014 on BBC One. Originally presented by Liz Bonnin, Jem Stansfield, Dallas Campbell and Dr. Yan Wong, the show employs a hands-on approach to test scientific theory and demonstrate how science shapes our world. From series seven, Maggie Philbin replaced Dallas Campbell as a main presenter and Yan Wong no longer appeared.

Blue Planet II

Blue Planet II is a 2017 British nature documentary series on marine life produced by the BBC Natural History Unit. Like its predecessor, The Blue Planet (2001), it is narrated and presented by naturalist Sir David Attenborough, while the main music score was composed by Hans Zimmer.The series was debuted on 29 October 2017 and was simulcast on BBC One, BBC One HD and BBC Earth, making it the first natural history series to premiere on the same day in the United Kingdom, Nordic regions, Europe and in Asia.

In the United States, the series premiered on Saturday, January 20, 2018, at 9 PM as part of a five-network simulcast on BBC America, AMC, IFC, Sundance, and WE tv. Subsequent episodes aired on successive Saturdays on BBC America.

British New Wave

The British New Wave is the name given to a sequence of films released in Great Britain between 1959 and 1963. The label is a translation of Nouvelle Vague, the French term first applied to the films of François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard among others.


Chert ( ) is a hard, fine-grained sedimentary rock composed of crystals of quartz (silica) that are very small (microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline). Quartz (silica) is the mineral form of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Chert is often of biological origin (organic) but may also occur inorganically as a chemical precipitate or a diagenetic replacement (e.g., petrified wood). Geologists use chert as a generic name for any type of microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline quartz.

Chert is usually of biological origin, being the petrified remains of siliceous ooze, the biogenic sediment that covers large areas of the deep ocean floor, and which contains the silicon skeletal remains of diatoms, silicoflagellates, and radiolarians. Depending on its origin, it can contain either microfossils, small macrofossils, or both. It varies greatly in color (from white to black), but most often manifests as gray, brown, grayish brown and light green to rusty red (occasionally dark green too); its color is an expression of trace elements present in the rock, and both red and green are most often related to traces of iron (in its oxidized and reduced forms respectively).

Civilisations (TV series)

Civilisations is a 2018 British art history television documentary series produced by the BBC in association with PBS as a follow-up to the original 1969 landmark series Civilisation by Kenneth Clark. It is narrated by Liev Schreiber and presented by Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga, with music composed by Tandis Jenhudson.

David Rothery

David A. Rothery is professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University, where he chairs a level 2 module Planetary Science and the Search for Life and a level 1 module Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis. He serves on the Open University's Senate.

From 1999-2004 he worked on the Beagle2 project led by Colin Pillinger. In 2006 he was appointed U.K. lead scientist for the MIXS (Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer) on the joint European Space Agency/JAXA mission to Mercury named BepiColombo. He leads the European Space Agency's Mercury Surface & Composition Working Group in preparation for the BepiColombo mission, which was successfully launched on 20 October 2018.

He has been a guest several times on The Sky at Night, and is frequently featured or quoted in TV, radio, print and online news stories about planetary science, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Fundamental frequency

The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental, is defined as the lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. In music, the fundamental is the musical pitch of a note that is perceived as the lowest partial present. In terms of a superposition of sinusoids, the fundamental frequency is the lowest frequency sinusoidal in the sum. In some contexts, the fundamental is usually abbreviated as f0 (or FF), indicating the lowest frequency counting from zero. In other contexts, it is more common to abbreviate it as f1, the first harmonic. (The second harmonic is then f2 = 2⋅f1, etc. In this context, the zeroth harmonic would be 0 Hz.)

Since the fundamental is the lowest frequency and is also perceived as the loudest, the ear identifies it as the specific pitch of the musical tone [harmonic spectrum]....The individual partials are not heard separately but are blended together by the ear into a single tone.

Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa

Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa (Mongolian: Жүгдэрдэмидийн Гүррагчаа; Russian: Жугдэрдэмидийн Гуррагча, [ˈʐuɡdʲɪrdʲɪmʲɪdʲɪjn ˈɡurəktɕə], born 5 December 1947) was the first Mongolian in space. He also was Mongolia's Defense Minister from 2000-04.

Learner-generated context

The term learner-generated context originated in the suggestion that an educational context might be described as a learner-centric ecology of resources and that a learner generated context is one in which a group of users collaboratively marshall available resources to create an ecology that meets their needs.There are many discussions about user-generated content (UGC), open educational resources (OER), distributed cognition and communities of practice but, although acknowledging the importance of the learning process, there has been little focus on learner-generated contexts or the impact of new technologies on the role of teacher, learner and institution.

Lucie Green

Lucinda "Lucie" May Green (born c.1975) is a British science communicator and solar researcher. Since 2005 Green has been a Royal Society University Research Fellow (previously the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow) at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) of the University College London (UCL). Green runs MSSL's public engagement programme and sits on the board of the European Solar Physics Division (ESPD) of the European Physical Society and the advisory board of the Science Museum.In 2013 Green became the first ever female presenter The Sky at Night following the death of Sir Patrick Moore.Green's research focuses primarily on the atmospheric activities of the Sun, particularly coronal mass ejections and the changes in the Sun's magnetic field which triggers them.

Mags Portman

Margaret Portman (died 6 February 2019) was a British medical doctor who specialised in sexual health. She was an advocate for pre-exposure prophylaxis medication (PrEP) to prevent new HIV/AIDS cases.

Mike Pentz

Michael John ("Mike") Pentz (30 November 1924 – 29 May 1995) was a physicist, activist in the peace movement, and an influential pioneer of teaching science to university students by distance education. Pentz was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and died in France.


OpenCourseWare (OCW) are course lessons created at universities and published for free via the Internet. OCW projects first appeared in the late 1990s, and after gaining traction in Europe and then the United States have become a worldwide means of delivering educational content.

Open University

The Open University (OU) is a public distance learning and research university, and the biggest university in the UK for undergraduate education. The majority of the OU's undergraduate students are based in the United Kingdom and principally study off-campus; many of its courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate) can also be studied anywhere in the world. There are also a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48-hectare university campus where they use the OU facilities for research, as well as more than 1,000 members of academic and research staff and over 2,500 administrative, operational and support staff.The OU was established in 1969 and the first students enrolled in January 1971. The university administration is based at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, but has administration centres in other parts of the United Kingdom. It also has a presence in other European countries. The university awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates or continuing education units.

With more than 174,000 students enrolled, including around 31% of new undergraduates aged under 25 and more than 7,400 overseas students, it is the largest academic institution in the United Kingdom (and one of the largest in Europe) by student number, and qualifies as one of the world's largest universities. Since it was founded, more than 2 million students have studied its courses. It was rated top university in England and Wales for student satisfaction in the 2005, 2006 and 2012 United Kingdom government national student satisfaction survey, and second in the 2007 survey. Out of 132 universities and colleges, the OU was ranked 43rd (second quartile) in the Times Higher Education Table of Excellence in 2008, between the University of Reading and University of the Arts London; it was rated highly in Design, Art History, English, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, Development Studies, Social Policy and Social Work and Sociology. It was ranked 36th in the country and 498th in the world by the Center for World University Rankings in 2018.The Open University is also one of only three United Kingdom higher education institutions to gain accreditation in the United States of America by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency, recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.The BSc (Honours) Computing and IT course is accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and quality assured by the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education (EQANIE).The OU won the Teaching Excellence and Digital Innovation categories in The Guardian University Awards 2018.

Positive liberty

Positive liberty is the possession of the capacity to act upon one's free will, as opposed to negative liberty, which is freedom from external restraint on one's actions. A concept of positive liberty may also include freedom from internal constraints.The concepts of structure and agency are central to the concept of positive liberty because in order to be free, a person should be free from inhibitions of the social structure in carrying out their free will. Structurally, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism and racism can inhibit a person's freedom. As positive liberty is primarily concerned with the possession of sociological agency, it is enhanced by the ability of citizens to participate in government and have their voices, interests, and concerns recognized and acted upon.

Although Isaiah Berlin's essay "Two Concepts of Liberty" (1958) is typically acknowledged as the first to explicitly draw the distinction between positive and negative liberty, Frankfurt School psychoanalyst and Marxist humanistic philosopher Erich Fromm drew a similar distinction between negative and positive freedom in The Fear of Freedom (1941), predating Berlin's essay by more than a decade.

Reeta Chakrabarti

Reeta Chakrabarti (born 12 December 1964) is a British journalist, newsreader and correspondent for BBC News. She is known for being the main relief presenter for BBC News at One, BBC News at Six, BBC News at Ten and BBC Weekend News, and presenting regularly on the BBC News Channel. She also serves as contributing editor for BBC News.

Smithdon High School

Smithdon High School (formerly known as Hunstanton Secondary Modern School and Hunstanton School) is a non-selective (ages 11–16) academy, with 627 students in Hunstanton, Norfolk. Ofsted rated the school as good in 2014. It changed its status, joining the West Norfolk Academies Trust in 2016.

The buildings were designed by the architects Peter and Alison Smithson. They were completed in 1954, and the modernist school was immediately acclaimed by the architectural critics who coined the term New brutalism. It has stark and uncompromising design with large expanses of glass (inspired by the work of Mies van der Rohe) and exposed structural elements and services. The buildings have remained largely unchanged though some of the featured clear glass panels were replaced by black panels to overcome a solar overheating problem. They were Grade II* listed in 1993.


Sugilite ( SOO-gi-lyt) is a rare pink to purple cyclosilicate mineral with the complex chemical formula KNa2(Fe, Mn, Al)2Li3Si12O30. Sugilite crystallizes in the hexagonal system with prismatic crystals. The crystals are rarely found and the form is usually massive. It has a Mohs hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 and a specific gravity of 2.75 to 2.80. It is mostly translucent.

Sugilite was first described in 1944 by the Japanese petrologist Ken-ichi Sugi (1901–1948) for an occurrence on Iwagi Islet, Japan, where it is found in an aegirine syenite intrusive stock. It is found in a similar environment at Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada. In the Wessels mine in Northern Cape Province of South Africa, sugilite is mined from a strata-bound manganese deposit. It is also reported from Liguria and Tuscany, Italy; New South Wales, Australia and Madhya Pradesh, India.

Note: The mineral is commonly pronounced with a soft "g", as in "ginger". However, as with most minerals, its pronunciation is intended to be the same as the person it is named after; in this case, the Japanese name Sugi has a hard "g", as in "geese".

The Story of Maths

The Story of Maths is a four-part British television series outlining aspects of the history of mathematics. It was a co-production between the Open University and the BBC and aired in October 2008 on BBC Four. The material was written and presented by University of Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy. The consultants were the Open University academics Robin Wilson, professor Jeremy Gray and June Barrow-Green. Kim Duke is credited as series producer.The series comprised four programmes respectively titled: The Language of the Universe; The Genius of the East; The Frontiers of Space; and To Infinity and Beyond. Du Sautoy documents the development of mathematics covering subjects such as the invention of zero and the unproven Riemann hypothesis, a 150-year-old problem for whose solution the Clay Mathematics Institute has offered a $1,000,000 prize. He escorts viewers through the subject's history and geography. He examines the development of key mathematical ideas and shows how mathematical ideas underpin the world's science, technology, and culture.

He starts his journey in ancient Egypt and finishes it by looking at current mathematics. Between he travels through Babylon, Greece, India, China, and the medieval Middle East. He also looks at mathematics in Europe and then in America and takes the viewers inside the lives of many of the greatest mathematicians.

Massive open online education
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