Keep ‘CoOL’ and calm with lockdown learning lessons

Date 17.02.2021

*Updated 25 February 2021 with details about the Maths Monster session.

Those who want to learn something new, get extra support for home teaching or advice about their mental and physical health can, from next week, log-in for free, online learning sessions from University of Northampton (UON) experts.

Community of Online Learning (CoOL) starts on Friday 26 February to give people information, direction and top tips to help them better navigate a pandemic planet.

Sessions will cover psychological wellbeing and stress management, physical health or getting youngsters to eat their greens. Others will shine a light on home schooling to help parents and carers support children with topics such as English, maths and art.

Given in an informal but informed style, CoOL sessions last between 30 minutes to an hour and are open to all over 18, whether they are from Northamptonshire or not.

No prior knowledge is needed and there will be time at the end of each learning event for questions and answers. Post-session notes with ideas for further learning will also be provided.

Space can be reserved for each event by booking using the links below. Links to the virtual rooms the sessions will be held in on each day are located there, but will also be emailed to attendees:

26 February (1-1:30pm) – Stress and stress management techniques. In her first session, Dr Kati Pourseied (pictured on the left) will focus on stress and stress management techniques.

1 March (12-12:30pm) – Talk the talk and walk the walk. With gyms closed and being stuck at home with seemingly nowhere to go, it’s been a tough year for all of us. But walking is one thing that can help! Dr Declan Ryan (second from left) will discuss the reasons why, where, and when to walk to get you up and about – abiding by Government restrictions! – so we can all walk the walk together.

2 March (12-12:30pm) – Maths Monsters. Dr Amanda O’Shea has been a teacher of mathematics for many years. Her session will explore mathematical ideas in a fun way using Lego or other materials to hand. Come prepared with a small monster or animal constructed from Lego-type bricks, junk boxes or from flat paper/cardboard, either 2D or 3D. Having another person to talk with would also be useful.

3 March (1-1:30pm) – Emotion and emotion regulation. Dr Pourseied’s second session will look into the complexity of emotions and emotion regulation strategies.

4 March (12-12:45pm) – Wild writing: Taking English outdoors. Joanne Barrow will show you a range of ways that skills in English can be taught outdoors. All aspects of the curriculum will be covered, helping you to feel confident in taking English outdoors and exploring imaginations and possibilities creatively.

5 March (11-11:45am) – He always finds the vegetables! Sharon Smith (pictured third from the left) will focus on the importance of nutrition for young children’s health. She will explore breastfeeding, recommendations for the introduction of solid foods and the role of early diet in preventing childhood obesity.

16 March (1-1:45pm) – Introducing Digital Learning Across Boundaries. In this session, Associate Professor Helen Caldwell and Emma Whewell will share fun and practical ideas for using a range of digital technologies and apps to learn about the world and about each other.

18 March (11am-12noon) – Ideas for arts outdoors. Michelle Bugby will explore ideas for exciting interactive experiences outdoors to inspire children, or as a creative resource from an artist’s point of view.

David Cousens Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health, Education and Society and Dr Jane Murray, Associate Professor, developed the ‘CoOL’ programme.

Jane said: “The final days of coronavirus restrictions are coming, but are still some time away, so it is as important as ever for the University to extend a helping hand to people in our local community, and beyond.

“These ‘classes over a cuppa’ are perfect for lockdown parents with children looking for support with home schooling, people who want a general health and wellbeing pick-me-up, or those with inquiring minds who are keen to learn something new.

“CoOL is about logging on and learning in an hour or less to help you find your way through a new and sometimes confusing world. CoOL sessions are for your enjoyment, interest and personal benefit, but they are not academic lectures! We want to give people ‘butterfly moments’, as university experts-in-their-field open windows onto worlds they are passionate about.

“The team and I are really looking forward to talking with people and following them on what is a new and exciting journey for them and us.”

For further information about the sessions, please email

Follow the conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn about these sessions by using the hashtags #UONCoOL and #LockdownLearning

*Further sessions (dates to be confirmed) are also planned. They are set to focus on fun and practical ideas for using a range of digital technologies and apps to learn about the world and about each other (with Dr Helen Caldwell, pictured on the right and Emma Whewell) and exploring maths in a fun way using LEGO or other materials – such as a toy monster!