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The Open University’s (OU) community of internationally recognised historians apply the latest digital technologies to create and share knowledge on the history of Britain, Europe, Africa, Asia and America from 1500 to the immediate past.

OU historians use the University’s leading online learning platforms OpenLearn and FutureLearn, to reach hundreds of thousands of worldwide learners. Through the OU’s unique partnership with the BBC, they bring history to life for millions of viewers and listeners each year. Their work also influences UK policymakers, contributes to school curricula, benefits family historians via open access databases, and shapes innovative open educational resources for learners in secure environments.

Learn more about OU history’s research impact

What 19th-century prison education can teach us today

Education has a transformational impact on people in prison and other secure environments and is crucial to rehabilitation. It builds prisoners’ self-respect and self-worth and broadens their horizons. However, Dr Rosalind Crone argues its vital role in English history is often overlooked.

Who started the First World War: a century of controversy

More than a century after it ended, the First World War continues to be the subject of intense debate. Professor Annika Mombauer’s extensive research addresses the question ‘Why did the war start?’ Her print and online publications and teaching materials allow global audiences to learn from the First World War’s brutality and contested legacy.