The BBC News “On this day” site reveals that today is the anniversary of the first award of degrees from the UK’s Open University.

Growing up in the 1970’s, there were often OU programmes sandwiched into TV schedules, juxtaposed against childrens programming usually. Kids would get theoretical physics with their Fingerbobs. The awe-inspiring theme of the OU [Divertimento for Brass Sextet, by Leonard Salzedo, apparently] was a portent of the strange and new to me.

I remember scrawling green felt-tip nonsense pseudo-equations on the frontispieces of our family dictionary, after watching some OU Maths programme where I really liked what the grown-ups were drawing.

More on this golden age at the ever-excellent tv.cream.org [scroll down about 3/4s], with plenty about one of my childhood heroes, the estimable Dr. Stuart Freake, who to this day still fights the good fight for the public understanding of physics.

I’d still like to get my green pen out, maybe for courses such as AT308 Cities and Technology: from Babylon to Singapore:

“The course examines not only how towns and cities have been shaped by applications of technology, but also how such applications have been influenced by politics, economics, culture and the natural environment. The study ranges from pre-industrial mud-brick settlements of the Near East, through the influence of industrialization on cities as diverse as Manchester and Moscow, to today’s ‘wired’ cities. In your examination of the applications of the main technologies – building construction, transport systems, energy sources, communications – you will develop critical skills, such as comparative analysis and the evaluation of explanatory models of urban development.”

A snip at 450 GBP!

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