Coronavirus

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 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

Open University news and research

Learn more about the research and projects going on at The Open University to help in the fight against coronavirus. You can also learn more about our other research projects, the effect of coronavirus on how we travel, tips for studying online and more.

See all the latest news from The Open University

 

 
 

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.

 

Online teaching

Develop your online teaching

As the leaders in online distance learning, we offer a range of courses designed to help you take your teaching online.

Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners

Develop your ability to teach adults online by learning the practical skills needed to build and deliver successful online courses. Relevant to learners around the world, you’ll be able to apply your learning immediately to your own teaching context.

Take Your Teaching Online

The closure of universities and schools has created a demand for delivering educational content online. As a front-runner in distance learning, we're able to offer a variety of courses, interactives and academic insights to help you pivot to teaching online.

Tools for Teachers

This is a collection of free courses and tools for teachers, and with more of you having to play the role of teacher at the present time, what better opportunity to brush up on your teaching skills, or just to get prepared for when school is back again?

Free courses

Free courses from OpenLearn

Did you know OpenLearn offers more than 1,000 free courses?

Brush up on your soft skills, access resources for supporting school-aged learners, or take some free courses designed around those who run a small or medium-sized enterprise.

Discover all our free courses on OpenLearn

Soft skills training

Learn to recognise the importance of soft skills and how to improve them in yourself and your organisation with our free, Google-endorsed courses.

Free Courses and Content for School Study

We've pulled together some of our top courses and content, suitable from ages 13 upwards, across a range of subjects to help you and your family continue learning at home.

Business support

Our free courses could help those running small or medium-sized enterprises improve their skills to tackle business challenges caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Free courses from FutureLearn

Founded by the OU, FutureLearn offers courses from universities all over the world.

We’ve picked out some of our most popular free courses for you to take a look at.

Browse all courses available on FutureLearn

 

Start Writing Fiction

Get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters, with this hands-on course.

Make change happen

Strengthen the skills you need to work with others to tackle injustice and help make lasting social and political change.

Modules and qualifications

How to count free study from OpenLearn towards an OU qualification

If you're currently studying or have recently studied a free course from OpenLearn, our module, Making your learning count, offers you the opportunity to count your study towards an OU qualification, such as our flexible Open degree or popular Mathematics degree.

See all our modules and qualifications

 

Making your learning count

This innovative module allows you to count previous or current study from the OU’s free learning website, OpenLearn, towards an OU qualification, such as our popular Open degree.

BA/BSc (Hons) Open degree

This flexible degree allows you to set the direction of your learning. By choosing modules from over 16 subject areas, you’ll create a bespoke qualification that reflects your needs and interests.

BSc (Hons) Mathematics

This degree offers a wide selection of modules to fit your interests and ambitions. You'll cover a selection of topics in pure and applied mathematics with the option to study statistics, physics and education.

Health and wellbeing

Free mental health tips and resources

Social distancing, self-isolating and the constant coronavirus-related news updates can impact on our mental health. To better support you and your family, we’ve put together some free resources to help keep you afloat and better understand how to manage stress and anxiety in the digital age.

Take a look at our mental health tips, interactives and articles

 

Supporting students

Important information for continuing students

If you’re currently studying with us or will be returning to study in the new academic year, you can find more information about how our student services have been affected and the measures we’ve introduced to minimise the impact of coronavirus on your studies.

See all information for continuing students

 

Supporting your wellbeing

We are here to support your mental health and wellbeing. We've put together some tips on balancing work, study and family, which you might find helpful.

Assessments and exams

We’ve made adjustments to our assessments and exams to support our students and tutors. All exams are currently being delivered as remote exams for all modules until 31 December 2023. 

Book your degree ceremony

Attending a degree ceremony is an important milestone in your journey with The Open University. You can now book to attend one of our degree ceremonies scheduled for this year.

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

Since March 2021, the ground floor of the OU’s Michael Young building has become 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