Whilst helping students get sorted for their studies, I had the good fortune to stumble upon a great resource called UK RED, that will interest anybody who has a curiosity in reading, it’s history and the myriad contexts that make up the rich fabric of our cultural experience.
From the about page:
UK RED is an open-access database housed at The Open University containing over 30,000 easily searchable records documenting the history of reading in Britain from 1450 to 1945. Evidence of reading presented in UK RED is drawn from published and unpublished sources as diverse as diaries, commonplace books, memoirs, sociological surveys, and criminal court and prison records.
UK Red captures the literary experience as told by everyday readers. The search options are comprehensive, covering century, socio-economic group, whether the source is from a reader, listener, or reading group. It even goes so far as to check through translations, publishers, etc. The choices allow the reader to go deep into history for study, or just for curiosity. The room for context of a particular book to a specific group of people at a specific time (and also the changing opinions of society over time) can be fascinating.
With five weeks of training completed at the Open University – the main reason for my sparse posting of late – I can finally turn my attention to showcasing all the awesome free stuff that you can get your hands on courtesy of the O.U.. This week it’s something mentioned previously on this blog and frequently engages me through on my breaks and before work starts.
OpenLearn is a resource I had spent a bit of time with before I started this job and now I recommend it to everyone. The site offers courses, downloads, videos, and up coming programmes with the BBC. Each course is an extract from our degree modules, and with almost 1000 samples here you can indulge in many various learning exercises.
There are courses for everyone over such varied fields as Languages, Nature & Environment , Money & Business, and my personal favourite History & the Arts, which has plenty of literary goodness but never fails to entertain with a speculative punt either.
Oh yes I did! I’ve only gone and added another job to my tally, and this , my third and final form of employment, is at the open university.
Celebrating its fiftieth year, the OU is all about getting people the education (and degrees) they wish for. A lot of focus goes on the part-time learners who are also earners, courses are all online and reach outside the UK to a further 157 countries.
You can find out all about the ‘deets’ elsewhere online, and if you ring up about anything, you may just be speaking to me as I will be the guy that sets you up on the course you need, offering up the best options and generally knowing stuff. In the meantime if you fancy taking a gander at the free courses on offer and seeing what its all about, head here and learn stuff gratis.
It’s always great to find a job that involves something you enjoy, and with this one I will be offering services of which will benefit everyone. Education is the key to a lot of the world’s problems so it is a fine state of affairs to help people better themselves and go home having done something worthwhile, which is a rare position to be in.