Expand your Knowledge!
Do you want to master a new language or a new skill, study for a degree, learn about the works of great artists, read a book, watch a video, listen to music, follow lectures delivered by the world’s most erudite academics, look up an obscure fact, or check the spelling of a word, the world-wide web has it all.
The Open University
Click on the image to visit the Open University website
The Open University is a public research university and the largest university in the UK for undergraduate education. The majority of the its 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. It awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates or continuing education units.
The Open University was established in 1969 and used the original television studios and editing facilities at Alexandra Palace, in north London, which had been recently vacated by the BBC. The main administration is based at Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire.
Click on the image to visit the FutureLearn website
FutureLearn is a digital education platform founded in December 2012. The company is jointly owned by The Open University and SEEK Ltd. It is a Massive Open Online Course learning platform, and as of May 2018 it included 143 UK and international partners, including non-academic organisations.
The 12 founding partners were: The Open University, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, Cardiff University, University of East Anglia, University of Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster University, University of Leeds, University of Southampton, St Andrews University, and University of Warwick.
A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials, such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive courses with user forums or social media discussions to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants, as well as immediate feedback to quick quizzes and assignments.
FutureLearn students can opt to study for free, to upgrade, or to buy unlimited access.
Free Learning from the Open University
Click on the image to visit the OpenLearn website
OpenLearn is the UK’s Open University’s contribution to the Open Educational Resources project and the home of free, open learning.
The Open University launched the OpenLearn brand 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.
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.
Click on the image to visit the Coursera website
Coursera helps build skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online, by collaborating with over 190 leading universities and companies.
Every course on is taught by top instructors from world-class universities and companies, so it is possible to learn something new anytime, anywhere. Hundreds of free courses give access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, and community discussion forums. Paid courses provide additional quizzes and projects as well as a shareable course certificate upon completion.
Click on the image to visit Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, and encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. It was founded in 1971 by American writer Michael S. Hart. It is thus the oldest digital library.
Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books. Project Gutenberg tries to make these as free as possible, in long-lasting, open formats that can be used on almost any computer. There are over 60,000 texts, mainly in English, made up primarily of literary works, such as novels, poetry, short stories and drama, but you can also download cookbooks, reference works and back-issues of periodicals.
Click on the image to visit Google Books
Google Books is a service from Google Inc. that searches the full text of books and magazines that the company has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition, and stored in its digital database.The number of scanned books exceeds 40 million titles.
Books are provided either by publishers and authors through the Google Books Partner Program, or by Google’s library partners through the Library Project. Additionally, Google has partnered with a number of magazine publishers to digitize their archives.
Results from Google Books show up in both the universal Google Search and in the dedicated Google Books search website. In response to search queries, Google Books allows users to view full pages from books in which the search terms appear if the book is out of copyright, or if the copyright owner has given permission. If Google believes the book is still under copyright, a user sees ‘snippets’ of text around the queried search terms. All instances of the search terms in the book text appear with a yellow highlight.
The best free cultural and educational media on the web
Click on the image to visit the Open Culture portal
On offer are online courses, movies, audio books, eBooks, textbooks, language lessons, business courses and more, and all for free!
Please click on the image to visit the You Tube main page
YouTube is an American online video-sharing platform created by three former PayPal employees in 2005. Google bought the site in 2006 for US$1.65 billion, and the service now operates as one of it’s subsidiaries.
YouTube offers a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media videos. Available content includes video clips, TV show clips, music videos, short and documentary films, audio recordings, movie trailers, live streams, and other content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos. Most content on YouTube is uploaded by individuals, but media corporations including CBS, the BBC, Vevo, and Hulu offer some of their material via YouTube as part of the YouTube Partnership Program.
More than 400 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube each minute, and one billion hours of content are being watched on YouTube every day. The website is ranked as the second-most popular site in the world, just behind Google.
The Internet Archive
Free access to a huge virtual library
Click on the image to visit the Internet Archive
The Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and much else besides. Like a paper library, it provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public. Its mission is to provide universal access to all knowledge.
Today the archive contains over 400 billion web pages, 20 million books and texts, 4 million videos, 3 million images, 200,000 software programs, and 4.5 million audio recordings, including 180,000 live concerts.
The Wayback Machine
Explore more than 400 billion web pages saved over time!
Click on the image to visit the Wayback Machine
The Internet Archive started the Wayback Machine project in 1996 by archiving the Internet itself, a medium that was just beginning to grow exponentially. Like newspaper articles, the content published on the web was ephemeral – but unlike newspaper articles, no one was saving it.
Today over 20 years’ worth of of web history is accessible through the Wayback Machine, and the Internet Archive works with over 625 libraries and other partners through its Archive-It programme to identify important web pages.