On vacation I do not read the newspapers or view the internet. It is one of the joys of being on vacation and part of my digital detox [see ‘Digital detox with a deep vacation‘ on August 10th, 2016]. We usually take a large pile of books with us and this year was no exception – our shelf of books is shown in the photograph. One novel stood out in particular: ‘Drive your plow over the bones of the dead‘ by Olga Tokarczuk. One passage that resonanted with me was ‘Newspapers rely on keeping us in a constant state of anxiety, on diverting our emotions away from the things that really matter to us.’ Many of us suffer from a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) but in practice most changes reported in the media that directly impact our lives happen so slowly that we miss very little by disconnecting for a few weeks and it releases us to think.
Last week I wrote about the practical exercises that I have been setting as homework in my first year undergraduate course on thermodynamics. The instruction sheets that I published had been used by thousands of learners on my MOOC, Energy! The Thermodynamics of Everyday Life; and slightly modified versions had been used by more than a thousand students at the University of Liverpool. A few years ago, I produced another MOOC called ‘Understanding Superstructures’ which also contained three practical exercises for online learners to perform in their kitchens. I have not used them as part of a blended undergraduate course but nevertheless they have been completed by hundreds of participants in the MOOC. I have decided to share them for colleagues to use in support of first year courses on the Mechanics of Solids or the Mechanics of Structures. There is strong food flavour and no additional equipment is needed. Please feel free to use them to support your teaching.
Instruction sheets for thermodynamics practical exercises as homework: