As January departed, so too did Britain, from the European Union… Brexit was finally here, and there has been a lot written about it. We also waved goodbye to Harry and Meghan, stepping back from royal duties to live a ‘normal life’. And the Australian bush fires raged, causing devastation, as can be learned about in our Fire ecology course.
Launched on OpenLearn this month: Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging free badged course
The application to extend Bristol Airport was, somewhat surprisingly, rejected amid concerns over the environment, climate change, and sustainability, which you can learn more about in our Sustainability Hub. This was the month we all learned the word ‘coronavirus’ and we watched the weather turned on us, as Storm Ciara and then Storm Dennis hit hard, almost as a warning of what was to come…
There’s only one story to lead with in March… we all remember it, it’s all we talked about. Yep, Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin and the smash-hit TV series of 2020, Tiger King – which made us want to learn about mammals, especially the meat eaters. This was also the month that the Bank of England dropped interest rates to an all-time low of 0.25% - one for the Academy of Money course, that! Oh yeah, and lockdown happened, and we all learned how to cope in isolation…
99-year-old Captain Tom Moore became an inspiration as he raised millions of pounds for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden – perhaps he took our free course on Training for endurance in sport and fitness beforehand? The Queen also made a rare address to the nation this month… maybe she’d taken our Talk the Talk course to hone her presentation skills?
Remember when Dominic Cummings (still remember him?) drove to Barnard Castle to check his eyesight was okay? He could have just taken our Are you a focused driver? interactive and saved himself the trouble (and there was a lot of that to come!). May also saw the launch of the four astronauts to the ISS by SpaceX - the first full-fledged taxi flight for NASA by a private company. Hope they checked our course about living on the ISS out first. And if the murder of George Floyd inspired you to learn more about race and racism, then our Race and Ethnicity Hub is the place to go.
Kathy Sullivan, a former astronaut, became the first woman to travel to the deepest part of the ocean. We are spoiled for choice here, between our Ocean explorer interactive or this one about women who changed the world! June also saw statues pulled down, defaced and protected – this article about Robert Clive of the East India Company might help explain why.
So, 2020 has given us storms, and now it delivers the hottest day of the year (and for several years) as the heatwave hit 37.8 degrees in London. Did I hear anyone say ‘climate change’? And with everyone unable to go to theatres and museums, alternative ways to view them were found online. Maybe you fancy becoming a museum curator? Why not give it a go?...
Exam result month… and we were talking about As and Us, for A-levels and U-turns, as well as some grades! Our homeschooling hubs for 6th form students, like this one, might have been handy. And GDP fell by more than 20%, the biggest fall since records began. If the world ever needed to produce some young entrepreneurs, that time is now.
Launched on OpenLearn this month: Retirement planning made easy & Building confidence in using online learning forums free courses.
So, this is where the tiers and the lockdown rules started to confuse us. The ‘rule of six’ was introduced, and enrolments on our maths courses shot up* as everyone tried to work out who they could see, where and with who else. And work on the HS2 began, not to everyone’s joy – hopefully they all took our introduction to engineering course.
*True, they did, but probably not for this reason.
Launched on OpenLearn this month: Mad or Bad: how race, gender, age, and class may impact on the way people are perceived and treated.
England footballer Marcus Rashford campaigned to reverse the Government’s decision to stop free school meals for those in need after his petitions passed a million signatures. Our course on campaigning might inspire you too. Also this month, a new coal mine was approved in Cumbria, leading to questions about the renewable energy targets; and Strictly Come Dancing unveiled its first-ever same-sex couple – one to add to our LGBTQ timeline perhaps?
When Greta Thunberg was named Person of the Year, Donald Trump tweeted to say that she should ‘work on her anger management’ before adding ‘Chill Greta, chill’. As Trump questioned the election results, 11 months after posting that comment, Thunberg tweeted him back, saying ‘Chill Donald, chill’. Are you aware of how your use of social media could impact your future? And if you’ve ever wondered how you become US president… well, here’s how!
The popular TV show ‘I’m A celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’ moved from its regular home in the Australian jungle to a castle in Wales. Ah well Ant and Dec, never mind… but saying that there’s plenty to explore and learn about Wales, as our OpenLearn Wales site shows. Jesy left the pop group Little Mix, stating that the pressure had taken a toll on her mental health, for which we’ve developed lots of resources on OpenLearn. And of course, the first COVID-19 vaccinations (learn about vaccinations here) were administered and the name William Shakespeare was on everyone’s lips once more!
Launched on OpenLearn this month: Janis Joplin and the Sexual Revolution – a free course and something different to end the year!