The Open University is a world renowned British institution of higher education offering people all over the world the chance to earn a first-class degree without ever stepping foot in a lecture theater. Thanks to the Internet, the Open University is now able to offer more courses to more people than ever before, and their YouTube channel helps market their wares.
When you’re a learning establishment, accessibility and professionalism are two highly prized qualities. Video content is one way of putting your money where your mouth is, and the OU’s YouTube channel offers a chance to learn something quickly, discover a brand new passion and then consider taking it to the next step in the form of a course.
Today’s lesson includes architectural modernism, international criminal law and a detailed look at the BBC Micro computer.
Do you know your modernism from your postmodernism? Does the word “Bauhaus” make you think of late 1970s gothic rock? Maybe you need a crash course in archictecture, more specifically modernist architecture of the last century, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with the OU’s series on architecture; Design in a Nutshell.
The series of six videos (each lasting little more than a few minutes) will bring you up to speed on the major architectural movements of the last hundred years from post-war radical shift in building to changes brought about by brand new materials and techniques. All six videos have been embedded as a playlist above, so simply click play and watch the whole series.
What is the role of the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands? What role does the Hague play in prosecution, inquiries and infractions so great they break international law? This series of 5 videos takes you inside the ICC’s courts, offices and practices to answer some of those questions.
As well as touring the bricks and mortar, the series analyses the role of barristers as well as providing coverage of two cases: the trial of war criminal Thomas Lubanga from the Republic of Congo and that of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former Libyan dictator.
There exists no better crash course in the science of space than this, the Open University’s 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy. Narrated by David Mitchell (that’s Mark from Peep Show), the shows are light and entertaining and jam-packed with physics, rules, theories and deadpan humour.
The series is actually offered on YouTube as a course rather than just a simple playlist. Each video explores some oft-confusing astronomical phenomena including supernovae, dark matter, special relativity and what makes a black hole suck.
As human beings, the first celestial body we visited other than earth was our beloved moon. Over the last fifty years of space exploration and mastery of physics we have uncovered another four examples of satellites like our own, each with their own unique stories to tell and questions to answer.
The itinerary includes Europa, the sixth closest moon to the planet of Jupiter with its iron core and Saturn’s Titan moon with its dense atmosphere composed mostly of nitrogen. There is also an episode looking at Phobos and Deimos, as well as a tribute to our own milky white satellite too.
There are three clearly definable “generations” of computers that predate the modern microprocessor-powered machines as explored in this (slightly old) series. Shot in 4:3 (the easy way of dating video) the series looks back at the original electronic computer, the Colossus of Bletchley Park initially used to crack wartime codes.
It also catches up with technological advances made after the war, including one of the earliest popular home computers, the BBC Micro, manufactured by Acorn.
There’s nothing like a touch of cholera to get you out of bed in a hurry (or not) but microbes mean more to our modern lives than horrible illness, and many of our best inventions rely on them – like beer! Seven Wonders of the Microbe World looks at some of the best microbial stories of the human race, starting with beer and the supposed origins of the wonderful beverage.
Other microbial triumphs include antibiotics and genetic engineering, in addition to nitrogen fixing bacteria used to enrich poor soil and grow food in adverse conditions.
You can check out more of the Open University’s bite-sized nuggets of wisdom at The Open University’s YouTube channel.
Have you studied with the Open University? Let us know what you think of these films and the OU in the comments, below.