Hello, all, from Chrissie Larkin
Sharon Rupp has asked me to share some information about educational links. We are all aware of the importance of trying to keep our brains active at this difficult time. I have collated a few details about all sorts of different topics.
I am sorry but they all require access to the Internet and I do realize we do not all have that.
The Open University offers free online courses, easily available. You sign up and click on the link to the course you have chosen. You study at your pace in your own time; literally, there is no rush at all. There are 100s of courses covering just about any topic. They are described in hours of work necessary to fulfil the course and the general level of the course. The one I’ve just finished was on, ‘The Olympics – bridging the gap between past and present’. I really enjoyed it and learned a great deal. I have to say I was surprised at how good I felt after having achieved something! You need only read the text if that is all you wish to do. It is as advanced as you wish to make it. There are numerous links following each section if you want to research further, if not, you just continue on to the next section. It keeps a log of where you have got up to and so the next time you log in you go straight to where you finished.
I also found a link on the OU website to talks, also free. I have signed up to listen to a group discussing, ‘Do Prisons Work?’
I am sure there are numerous other free courses available through the OU. Personally, I find it easier to get on with if I set myself a specific time of the day to study so that I am less likely to find excuses!
Mirthy, as Sharon has said, is also worth looking further into. I have found them very responsive to queries and they are looking to expand and extend their programme. I don’t feel we can ever learn too much! Very soon, replays will be available so, if you miss the broadcast, you will be able to access the course whenever you like, as long as you have signed up for it. There will be a very small charge for this replay. Just log onto their website and have a look through all the topics on offer. There are talks every Thursday which are free to all and also the monthly ones through our West Wolds group. You will receive an email link to access the talk.
The Astronomical Institute of Edinburgh also broadcasts free lectures as I’m sure many other organizations and institutes do. Again, just go on the website and sign up and you will receive an email a couple of hours before kick-off which will include a link.
I watched a lecture from them on Friday evening and I would say it came into the category of, ‘fairly advanced’! However, it was a really interesting talk about the alignment of the stars and so now I am searching the Institute website for the earlier ones in this series and then I plan to watch the lecture again, hoping I understand a bit more!
I would also like to mention the television. Just by searching Freeview I have found a huge number of educational programmes on all sorts of topics. They give you something, other than the current situation, to think about. I love, ‘Abandoned Engineering’, ‘Mega Structures’, and programmes on railways, animals and classic cars. Also programmes where a reporter investigates the cultures of foreign lands. We can be transported there without moving!
I know this sounds a bit odd, but I have even tried the Schools programmes especially shown during lockdown. Very short, snappy pieces on maths, physics, history, etc. It’s surprising how much we forget!
Discovery Award – for those of you who are doing, or want to start, this award, it is possible to do it all at the moment without breaking guidelines regarding social distancing. I have now finished my Gold through isolation time. I found the organization very open to different ideas that incorporated the lockdown. I have found the volunteering section most rewarding. It is solely because of the Discovery Award that I now teach Advanced Driving, have volunteered at an Animal Rescue, (and brought home two more dogs), have joined a Befriending Group in Caistor and am now the gardener for the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway. I am also due to start volunteering under a scheme called, School Readers, to go into a local Primary School and listen to the children read. Clearly, I cannot undertake these at the moment but they have changed my life. I can help other people, in my own time, in my own way by pacing myself. It is so great that I have found I can still contribute. It’s made the world of difference. Have a think about undertaking Discovery.
Please try to keep up with your U3A groups. We need to keep afloat! I am sure all groups are struggling but many are continuing. The Digital Photography group is managing as best it can and even just sending in appropriate monthly photos makes you feel as though you are, in some way, still connected!
I would encourage you to keep battling on until we are through this. It seems as though the end is coming but it will still take a long time.
Look after yourself. Ring people to chat, especially those who live alone. Stay safe and please don’t be tempted to come out of isolation once you have had the vaccine.