Once again this past week we’ve been busy scanning across the internet to find the latest information and Open University courses. The greatest university on the planet (we reckon anyway) is always innovating and leading the way on many issues that affect us around the globe and these news pieces reflect just that. So if there’s a free course or bit of news on the agenda then hopefully we will pick it up and stick it on the next Open University news.

What is grammar? How does understanding this powerful tool help us to communicate ideas and feelings and generally get things done? The video looks at how a functional approach to grammar can help us to understand professional practice in a range of contexts, for example call centres, education, journalism and subtitling. It also looks at how computer software can be used to analyse language in context in the real world.

Improve your grammar here


In response to a listener question, Adam Rutherford asks various scientists – what is a ‘model’ in science? Andrew Ponson introduces us to the concept, Carole Haswell discusses how they work in astronomy, Paul Donald explains their use in conservation science and hydrologist Nick Reynard talks about using models to simulate extreme weather events such as flooding.

Question from Jim Hay: “I wonder if you could explain what a model is? The term is used so frequently on science programmes that I just let it slide past me but the fact is I don’t know what it means exactly when a scientist says that they made a model.”

Adam Rutherford explains what a scientific model is


If you had told me 10 years ago that one day I would be studying maths at the University of Bristol I probably would have laughed, or cried. Maybe both. But I definitely wouldn’t have believed you.

Around this time, back in 2005, I was struck with a nasty virus and never fully recovered.

Tackling university with ME


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