VPNs and third party learning resources I Oxford Open Learning

VPNs and third party learning resources


The Oxford Open Learning Trust’s use of third party materials.

To enhance the richness of the learning experience our courses will frequently recommend the use of resources which are not part of our course materials. This may be a suggestion that you read a book or watch a play. All levels of study will benefit from this wider approach to your learning and A levels particularly expect students to have read more widely than the syllabus. All this helps you prepare for degree level study.

Some of our links are to shorter pieces of material or internet resources. The internet is a vast a rich resource which our editors comb to find appropriate links to enhance your study.

However, we can’t always test those links to check that they are available from every country in the world. So if you are normally resident in the UK and having problems accessing some of our materials whilst you are overseas, a VPN may be a good option.

What is a VPN service.

VPN stands for virtual private network and are most commonly used as a security and privacy tool that stops websites from tracking you. They are particularly popular amongst privacy buffs. They also spoof your location so that you appear to be in a different country. 

Are VPNs legal

In most countries, the use of VPN is perfectly legal however a list of notable exceptions is shown below.

VPNs are illegal (or their use is restricted) in:

  • China (heavily restricted)
  • North Korea (illegal)
  • Iraq (illegal)
  • Belarus (illegal)
  • UAE (legal with restrictions)
  • Egypt (legal with restrictions)
  • Turkey (legal with restrictions)
  • Russia (illegal)

This is a fluid list and you should always check local laws before using a VPN.

A key thing to remember is that a VPN is a security tool which is legal in most jurisdictions. Illegal acts never become legal just because you are using a VPN.

More information on VPNs and their legality can be found here

Which VPN should I use

We don’t recommend any particular VPN providers but other sites do review VPN providers on a range of criteria. some examples are shown below

The best BBC iPlayer VPN in 2022 | Tom’s Guide (tomsguide.com)

The Best VPN Services for 2022 (pcmag.com)

International access to youtube.

A surprisingly wide variety of countries have blocked access to youtube at one point or another, sometimes for political reasons and sometimes as a result of legal and copyright disputes.  The full background can be found on Wikipedia. At the time of writing the following countries are blocking Youtube.

  • China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau)
  • Eritrea
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • South Sudan
  • Turkmenistan

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Greg is the Head Of Operations at Oxford Home Schooling and has more than 25 years of experience in Distance Learning and Home Education