22 Jul 2008

The OU Launches World’s First ‘Free University Course’ iGoogle Gadget

iGoogle Gadgets

iGoogle Gadgets

In extending its vision of free online education, The Open University has again used leading-edge web technology to spread its brand of learning.

The Open University's ‘Fact of the Day’ gadget - the world’s first free university course iGoogle Gadget - gives people a fact every day with a link that lets them study and learn a free OpenLearn course.

Each day, users will be presented with a course-relevant fact. On clicking through, they will be presented with the opportunity to study material from an OU course.

There are more than 215 topics drawn from business and management, science and nature, IT and computing, maths and statistics, technology, and art and history. A wide range of free online courses from The Open University's OpenLearn website is now available straight from iGoogle homepages.

To add The Open University ‘Fact of the Day’ Gadget, ensure that you first have an iGoogle homepage (visit to find out more). Once you have this, click ‘Add Stuff’ and search for ‘Open University’.

The iGoogle page is a personalised homepage developed by Google. An iGoogle Gadget is a small, but powerful, customisable mini-application that sits on your iGoogle homepage.

Editor's note:
The OpenLearn story started in 2005 with a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Sharing The Open University’s aim to open access to education for all, it funded the setting up of the OpenLearn website. It was launched in October 2006, with an aim to regularly add new content and features. OpenLearn now offers a full range of Open University subject areas from access to postgraduate level and has seen more than 2 million visitors since launch. In April 2008, OpenLearn reached its target to have 5,400 learning hours of content in the LearningSpace and 8,100 hours in the LabSpace.

Since 1969, The Open University has been a pioneer in making learning materials freely available through its successful partnership with the BBC. Many of The Open University’s television and radio programmes are already supported by free internet activities and print materials.

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