Skip to content The Open University

Skills Check 0

The Skills Check is a short survey which should take you no more than 3 minutes to complete. Once you have completed the Skills Check we provide you with a personal learning plan targeted to your personal study needs and goals.

Sign in to work on the Skills Check.
  1. Home
  2. Computing skills
  3. Computing online
  4. The web - taking part

The web - taking part

Here are some web spaces that you can use for free. You'll need to register for most, which usually is very quick, then you can get going. You'll often have to provide a username and password – these don't have to be your OU ones. These sites are all web-based so you can access them from anywhere and there's no software to download. You decide who else can see your material.

This is an optional area - you don't need to use these for your OU study (unless your module team recommends them).

Social networking and bookmarking sites

  • Access your favourite websites from wherever you are by adding sites to Delicious. You can categorise sites and search for the ones you want, as well as see what other people find interesting.
  • Save and rate your own personal copy of web pages on Diigo.
  • Select and share news, videos on podcasts on Digg, where users decide the site's content.
  • Stay in touch with other people by using the OU area on Facebook, or try MySpace or Bebo. You can put in your thoughts and photos and invite other students to join.
  • To find out what other students are doing try the OU area on Twitter.
  • You can explore, build and socialise in a virtual economy created by the residents of Second Life.


  • Lists can help you keep organised, and you'll always know what still needs to be done. Ta-da lists let you set up several lists if you want different topics, and then prioritise, add, edit or share your items.
  • If you want notes as well as lists, want to write documents online and arrange email or text reminders, try Backpack.
  • Flickr is a place to store and share your digital photos with friends or family. You can set up a group area if several people want to keep their photos together.
  • Google Drive provides free web-based word processing and spreadsheet software that allows you to share documents with others. If you'd like to know more watch a YouTube movie about using Google docs.
  • YouTube lets you show your own video to others, or you can search topics for other people's material. Watch videos on The Open University YouTube channel for a tour of the main campus and other relevant content.


  • Wikipedia is a huge online encyclopedia. It is a wiki, which means that it uses collaborative authoring to keep information up-to-date – anyone can add, change or delete material. Search for any topic in a number of languages. However, note that there is some controversy about its reliability as a reference source.


  • If you want to create a blog try Blogger, which is also usable with your mobile phone.
  • To find and subscribe to other blogs, news feeds, email groups and websites, Bloglines lets you search for what you want and save your information in one place.
  • To search through the ever-changing content of blogs and other user-generated sites, try Technorati