With our summer plans up in the air (not literally unfortunately) due to lockdown, the coming months may provide a great opportunity for independent learning. Sometimes the joy of learning can be lost with the pressure of assessment, not to mention suddenly having to study in this new way during a global pandemic! So, we decided to bring together just a few resources that we’ve discovered, that we thought may spark your interest and offer a great opportunity to learn something new or unfamiliar.

Higher order thinking: critical analysis

We couldn’t resist starting with some academic skills. All of you are likely to have come across phrases such as critical thinking, critical analysis, and critically evaluate, particularly in marking criteria. Criticality is a concept that we all grapple with and can be hard to both explain and understand. Our colleagues at Newcastle University’s Writing Development Centre have made this 5 minute video which we think provides a great explanation. If only we’d come up with it ourselves!

WDC Explains It All- in one slide! Higher order thinking: Critical Analysis

The Writing Development Centre also have many more useful academic skills videos that we can highly recommend

COVID-19: Pandemics, Modelling, and Policy

COVID-19 is affecting every part of our lives on a global scale. If you want to know more about the science of modelling pandemics, a free 2 week course from Future Learn will help you make sense of the conflicting information around COVID-19. Or how about a course on the causes of human disease, developed by academics at the University of Leeds?

You can sign up for these and many more for free at futurelearn.com, with subjects ranging from screenwriting to anatomy, to Norwegian for beginners!

Black Lives Matter

Most of us feel like we could know more about the history of racism and white supremacy in both the US and the UK, but it’s not always easy to know where to start. Here are a few essential reads that are available to you online for free through the Library:

Kalwant Bhopal, White privilege : the myth of a post-racial society

Michelle Alexander, The new Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness

Globalism and the Prison Industrial Complex: An Interview with Angela Davis

Joy James (ed) Imprisoned Intellectuals : America’s Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion

bell hooks,  We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity

Sara Ahmed, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life

Michelle Cliff, If I could write this in fire. 

Peter Fryer, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain. 

Paul Gilroy, “There ain’t no black in the Union Jack”: The cultural politics of race and nation.

Elsewhere, political science journal Politics, Groups and Identities has released a Black Lives Matter ‘micro-syllabus’, with articles free to access until the end of August.

Publisher Verso Books is offering ebooks on abolition and Black struggle free for download until the end of June.

We hope that you find the above useful and please do recommend any other interesting courses, videos, books , documentaries etc., that you have come across in the comments below.