Information and free resources from The Open University

We’ve led the way in distance education for over 50 years. At the OU, we’re committed to using our expertise in online education to help our students, staff, alumni and society navigate the new ‘normal’ created by the coronavirus pandemic.

On this page, find out about our latest research, access resources for online educators, and discover free study for learners of all levels.

Women teaching young person
Professor Tim Blackman

A letter from our Vice-Chancellor

The OU’s mission ‘to be open to people, places, methods and ideas’ continues to be important as we support society during the various phases of the pandemic. We are using our unique position and reach as a Four Nations University and mobilising and deploying our world class research and expertise to continue to support the coronavirus response effort. We are also now using one of our buildings, Michael Young, to support the NHS in delivering up to 500 vaccinations a day. ...

Our academics are tracking the extent of false information about the virus so that it can be brought to the attention of policymakers and continuing to work on the world’s first COVID-19 digital immunity passport, which becomes more important as vaccines are rolled out across the UK. We ran a poll to see how people were spending their time during lockdowns and found that six in ten took up something creative in 2020. We’re also turning our attention to researching the effects of the pandemic on the economy; predicting the skills needed for strong, resilient leaders in the future workplace

The Coronavirus Research Fund was set up by in September 2020 by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Enterprise and Scholarship, providing a rapid-response stream for projects with short turn-around and a longer-term stream for large projects. Alongside this, our academics and experts continue to help other organisations and institutions with our world-leading expertise and capability in the delivery of online teaching and our experiences with remote working, which is also benefiting new sectors such as the legal profession and counsellors, who have moved their services online. As we move out of lockdowns and back into society, we’re planning events to showcase what we’ve found and make some forecasts on how the world will look.

Our amazing students are also playing their part in their communities by sharing their top tips with others now studying online on how they can maximise their capacity to study by planning and operating with distractions.

For over fifty years, we have been committed to making learning possible, for anyone with a desire to learn. We will continue to do that and more to help in the national response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Tim Blackman


News and research


Our faculty blogs

Our expert academics write their own blog posts on specialist topics and current affairs.

You can scroll through some of their most recent coronavirus blog posts and more.

Arts & Humanities in the time of COVID-19

Dive in deeper with this new series of pandemic-inspired reflections from our Arts & Humanities researchers.

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“We do good things, don’t we?”: considerations about social enterprises’ evaluation approaches

Dr Francesca Calo, OU Lecturer in management, discusses social enterprises, specifically in relation to their potential role in the world post COVID-19.

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"We feel at home here" was the common view of community garden volunteers

Les Levidow looks at how community gardens had a special importance during the pandemic, when many people otherwise faced social isolation.

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COVID-19 and the Child Trust Fund

Rajiv Prabhakar, OU Senior Lecturer, writes about how young people are likely to bear most of the economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Resetting trust in work

An OU study has found that any underlying antagonism between employers and employees is likely to have been intensified throughout the Covid crisis.

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Community food growing responds to the COVID-19 crisis

Dr Les Levidow, a Senior Research Fellow at The Open University. researches agroecological alternatives linked with short food-supply chains bringing producers closer to consumers.

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Videos from our academics

Our academics share some top tips about home schooling, bust online learning myths, and introduce our award-winning OpenSTEM Labs.

Watch the videos to find out more.


Free courses

Short courses

Short courses from The Open University

Our short courses have flexible, open entry, which means you can start them at almost any time of year, and prices start from as little as £99. We’ve chosen a few that may be of particular interest to you at this time, but we also offer short courses in astronomy, continuing professional development and more.

See all available Open University short courses


Modules and qualifications

Health and wellbeing

Supporting students

Contacting the OU

Our top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors during this unprecedented time. As such, our campus buildings are currently closed to the public, including our offices in Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Dublin.

Our online qualification registration remains open for you, 24/7.

Our current usual operating times are 08:00–17:30, Monday–Friday, and we welcome telephone enquiries again. As we’re expecting high call volumes, it may us take longer than usual to answer. Send us an email, or phone us using our Contact us page.

If you’re a current student, please visit the OU Help Centre for the latest updates on how we can support you.

It will take us longer than usual to respond to your emails, so we thank you for your patience at this time.

Information for vaccination centre visitors

In March 2021, the ground floor of the OU’s Michael Young building became the new premises for the Rainbow Pharmacy vaccination centre, taking over from their operation in Bletchley.

We’re proud to be able to support the Milton Keynes community and NHS in delivering up to 500 vaccinations a day.

If you have a question about your vaccination at the Michael Young building, please call the dedicated vaccination centre line: 01908 893240