Free: Energy! Thermodynamics in Everyday Life

sunTalking to camera is difficult…

For the last few weeks I have been spending a considerable proportion of my working hours in front of a camera shooting video clips for a MOOC, a Massive Online Open Course. The first results of this effort and those of my colleagues Matt O’Rourke and Rob Lindsay in the University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning are now available as a trailer. The initial reviews were ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’, so go ahead and watch it!

Innovation to support learning

Some people have commented on the lack of pedagogical foundation in many MOOCs. However, I think we are being quite innovative in the following ways:

  • we are using an established pedagogy, 5Es (see the next paragraph for more explanation),
  • we have designed three do-it-at-home laboratory exercises,
  • the five-week MOOC will run in parallel with the delivery of the traditional course to first year undergraduates in Liverpool and,
  • the traditional lectures will be repeated at the university’s campus in London two evenings each week.

The lectures in London will allow students living around London to meet each other and me, as well as, of course, experience the energy of the live delivery of the course.

For students worldwide (and in London)

If you are a student who has or is struggling with elementary Thermodynamics then register for the free MOOC which will start in February 2016. I will cover the curriculum content of most ‘A’ level modules and introductory undergraduate courses in Thermodynamics. If you are in London and would like to attend the lectures then contact me and I will send you more details.

For teachers/instructors anywhere

If you are a teacher, tutor or lecturer then consider bringing it to the attention of your students. I will be taking a different approach to the traditional way of teaching classical thermodynamics based on my experience teaching at the University of Liverpool using the Everyday Engineering examples featured on this blog together with the 5Es approach to lecture or lesson plans. If you would like to use it in parallel with your own lectures then get in touch with me so that we can talk about synchronization.


The 5Es are Engage (the students), Explore (the topic), Explain (the principles underpinning the topic), Elaborate (using the principles to analyse the topic) and Evaluate (ask the students to evaluate their learning by performing some analysis). The course has been well-received by students and nearly a thousand have taken it over last four years. This year we are making into a five-week MOOC so that thousands more can learn using it.


Real life thermodynamics

Bybee RW, Taylor JA, Gardner A, van Scotter P, Powell JC, Westbrook A & Landes N, The BSCS 5E Instructional model: origins, effectiveness and applications, BSCS Colorado Srings, 2006.

Sian Bayne & Jen Ross, The pedagogy of the MOOC: the UK view,  Higher Education Academy, 2014

Paul Stacy, The pedagogy of MOOCs,

2 thoughts on “Free: Energy! Thermodynamics in Everyday Life

  1. Pingback: Energy transformations | Realize Engineering

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