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Community of Online Learning: CoOL experiences that were open to all

Date 30.03.2021

Members of the local community felt involved, inspired and interested in learning more, following a scheme to beam academics into their homes.

Earlier this month, University of Northampton experts took part in a series of virtual, ‘laptop lockdown learning’ sessions.

The Community of Online Learning (CoOL) was free and open to all. Our experts offered short, online ‘classes’ on a range of topics from improving your physical and mental health to support for home schooling parents.

The aims of the CoOL programme included promoting a sense of belonging during lockdown, a time when many may have felt isolated or lonely.

The sessions also distributed knowledge democratically, by making links between research and people’s everyday lives.

All participants were invited to complete a short evaluation after each session. Those who responded said they enjoyed the sessions, learned something new and were interested in learning more about the topics that were discussed.

Participants appreciated the scientific insights that were shared, and said they found the sessions “great events for learning”.

David Cousens, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health, Education and Society and Dr Jane Murray, Associate Professor and co-lead for the Centre for Education and Research, developed the ‘CoOL’ programme.

Dr Murray said: “David, the CoOL team and I would like to thank all of the academics and professional services staff who were involved for giving their time and expertise so generously, as well as all those who attended our Community of Online Learning.

“By offering these free sessions that were open to all, we wanted CoOL to promote a sense of belonging in our wider community during COVID lockdown, and we received many positive comments from those who joined the sessions from as near as Northampton and as far as Sri Lanka.”

Look out for our other free and open seminars and events in the future, hosted by members of our research centres and subject areas, and ‘So, here’s the thing…’. These are separate sessions by other University staff, students, and members of the public, providing an opportunity to talk to an audience about something they are passionate or knowledgeable about.