Most of our modules have sample extracts from their study materials available online. You can also view many module books and the associated study guides at many public libraries and at OU regional and national centres. The samples featured here include materials from OpenLearn, iTunes U, OU Podcasts etc. They are taken from various points in the modules - some are relatively simple introductions but others are more complex extracts from the later weeks. Showing both will give you a good flavour of the kind of material you will encounter on our various modules. Read the information below for some tips on the best way to approach them.
Using the OpenLearn extracts
The OpenLearn website gives free access to learning materials from The Open University which you can study independently at your own pace. Each study unit has its own discussion forum so you can join a group and use the free learning tools to work with others if you like. Please note that the materials on OpenLearn are not presented in the format in which you would study them. These materials are usually sent to students as printed books, or sometimes presented online on module websites. The extracts range in scope from just a couple of hours' work to up to a full 20 hours of study - this would be more than a weeks' worth of work for an OU student taking that module. You can work though the 'units' or just dip in to the bits that interest you. Although these extracts appear as free-standing units, in practice they are usually supported by additional materials such as audio or video extracts, advice from the study guide, or online material and exercises.
Some of the extracts come from a fairly advanced stage in a module. If they seem difficult, bear in mind that by the time you come to study them you would have already covered more basic materials. Don't forget that as an OU student, you always have your tutor to support you in your learning.
Using the iTunes U extracts
iTunes U lets you download Open University educational resources free. The albums are a mix of extracts from audio and video materials which are usually available to students through their module website or sometimes on CD or DVD.
To access The Open University on iTunes U you will need to have the iTunes software installed. If iTunes is not installed on your computer, download iTunes, which is available for both Apple and Windows. Simply follow the appropriate install instructions and then return to this page.
If you do not have iTunes installed on your computer, you can access some of the material using your web browser from the OU Podcast site.
Taster materials by disciplines:
MA taster materials:
Interdisciplinary module materials:
The Arts Past and Present: Mosaics
How can we read an image to tell us more about its ancient maker? In this album a mosaic artist, Catherine Parkinson, visits the splendidly-preserved ancient Roman mosaics at Brading Villa on the Isle of Wight. With the help of two archaeologists she discovers that the iconography reveals important clues about the villa inhabitants' world view, taste, and aspirations. Their leisure pursuits, the value placed on learning, and their views on men and women are just some of the themes revealed in the mythological narratives. Did the craftsmen bring pattern books to the villa owner so he could choose how to decorate his house, much like today? Catherine's own practical experience of mosaic-making also helps us understand the methods the Romans used to lay the mosaics. In the audio track, Open University classicist Jessica Hughes explores some of the issues surrounding interpretation of these mosaics' meanings. This material forms part of The Open University Course AA100 The arts and past and present.