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  • The Open University is a distance learning university with an open admissions policy (many of its undergraduate courses have no formal entry requirements). Like most universities, there are hefty course fees, but it also offers more than 800 short online courses completely free via its Future Learn and Open Learn schemes. These are ongoing courses, but we reckon they're good enough to share here. 

    Some of these courses are short extracts from longer Open University courses, and others have been adapted specifically for these schemes. They include a range of subjects such as creative writing, history and languages. There's even a course on managing your finances featuring MSE founder Martin Lewis.

    Future Learn - 62 online courses with a set timeframe and tutors 

    The Future Learn site is owned by The Open University but also offers online courses from other UK universities. They're run during set periods of time, and there are tutors to help you. For some of these courses you have the option to pay for a certificate at the end (£40ish). 

    How to join a Future Learn course

    To enrol on a course you will need to click on this Future Learn link and create an account using your email address and select your chosen course. Alternatively, if you fancy any of the courses below, the link will take you directly to that course's sign-up page.

    Current courses include:

    Open Learn - 750+ self-learn online courses with no timeframe

    The Open Learn site offers all the Open University online courses which have been featured on Future Learn in the past. There is no set timeframe to complete them and there are no tutors. There are currently 750+ available. It's worth noting that you won't receive any qualifications from completing these courses. 

    How to join an Open Learn course

    You can access the majority of the Open Learn course materials without creating an account, but the Open University says that registering (which is free), gives you access to additional features, such as activity records which track your progress on each course. You can click on this Open Learn link or the links below will take you to the relevant application page for each course. 

    Free courses include:

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