Learning in lockdown: Free online classes for local communities during coronavirus pandemic

Friday, 17 April 2020

The University of Nottingham is launching a programme of free online classes for its local communities in Nottingham and the East Midlands.

In response to the isolation that COVID-19 has created, the School of Education has planned thirty-four online discussion classes, from a host of University of Nottingham experts, for the local community to enjoy at home. 

The programme schedule spans almost three months, starting on Tuesday 21 April, with the final class on Thursday 2 July. The eclectic mix of topics will appeal to a wide range of residents in Nottingham and the East Midlands, covering coronavirus and the issues that have arisen as a result, as well as more general topics such as; history, sociology, geography, self-care, pharmacy, religious studies, physics and psychology.

Classes include:

  • Coronavirus testing methods: what we should expect
  • Coping with home schooling: strategies and ideas
  • Grow Your Own Easy Greens Under Lockdown
  • Learning to have a better relationship with our selves: Our potential for growth through crisis
  • How British soldiers coped on the battlefields of France and Flanders during the First World War
  • How to explore your family tree
  • Chemistry at Nottingham University: From Silicone Invention to Exploding Pianos
  • Working with bees
  • Faith online: religion and the pandemic

Professor John Holford in the School of Education established the online classes, drawing on colleagues from across the University to host classes in their areas of expertise.

While so many of us are cut off from everyday life as we once knew it, we wanted to help our community in some way. Our colleagues are amongst the best internationally, with knowledge and experience in a huge variety of fascinating topics. This is a great opportunity to be able to share this with local residents and give them a taste of what is usually happening inside the University walls. It encourages intelligent discussion – people exploring important topics together. We hope it provides food for thought – and who knows, maybe some new hobbies?
Professor John Holford, Robert Peers Chair in Adult Education in the School of Education.

The sessions will be released in waves on a weekly basis - every Monday, six upcoming classes will be available for registration on the website. Each session will be free to join via EventBrite and will be hosted on the video conferencing app Zoom, available on smartphones or computers. There will be a limit on the number of people who can join, to allow ample room for discussion. Those who register will be sent a link to the Zoom meeting by email. Participants are encouraged to use the hashtag #UoNOpenTalk to leave their feedback and continue the discussion after the class has ended.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor John Holford in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham, on 07825 753825 or; or Katie Andrews, Media Relations Manager in the Press Office at the University of Nottingham, at


Notes to editors:


Programme details are subject to amendment or cancellation if the coronavirus emergency rules change.

Click here for the full programme.

Visit this webpage to sign-up for classes.

Click here for a brief guide to joining a Zoom meeting.

Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798