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 Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. 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. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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