The Resource Centre, located in the National Office in Bromley has a collection of non-book materials (DVD’s, CD’s, videos, slides and audio cassettes) on a wide range of subjects available to all U3A’s to borrow free of charge with only the return postage to pay.
Lists on individual subjects are available on request and there is an online catalogue accessed from the members’ area of the national website. The online catalogue also houses some online courses for download and links to external website of interest.
To borrow items from the collection you have to be registered with the Resource Centre and this can be done either online or by contacting them on 020 8315 0199.
Once registered you can either order items online:
By email – firstname.lastname@example.org
By telephone – 020 8315 0199
By post – The Resource Centre, The Third Age Trust, 19 East Street, Bromely, BR1 1QE
Bookings can be accepted up to 9 months ahead and the earlier you send your request the more likely you are to receive the item. Loans are for a period of 3 weeks and may be renewed if nobody else is waiting for them. Longer loans can be negotiated on request.
Items are posted to you and include a return date. The packaging can be reused and borrowers are advised to take items to the Post Office to ensure the correct postage cost and to obtain a free certificate of posting.
The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 9.30 am to 4.00 pm.
www.open.edu/openlearning/free-courses and www.ocw.mit.edu From the Open University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) respectively are courses based on material drawn from full time courses.
www.google.com/culturalinstitute/about The Google Cultural Institute has over 6 million photographs, documents and videos of cultural and historical interest. The institute includes the Google Art Project which has ultra high resolution images of artworks and artifacts from 70 museums around the world and street tours of some of the museums. There are also videos of part art talks and upcoming talks are announced on www.plus.google.com/+google The World Wonders Project has images and virtual tours of world heritage sites.
www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts comprises a wealth of programmes on history, science, books, the arts, etc. Some of these are available indefinitely.
www.ted.com Talks on approximately 15 minutes on a range of topics. The site can be search by subject area.
www.youtube.com Many international museums and other cultural institutions make interesting video material available here.
www.guttenberg.org Free ebooks from Project Guttenberg. Copyright issues are a minefield, as all 50,000 books on the website are legal to download in the U.S.A but not necessarily in the U.K. It is probably safe to say that books published before 1923 are out of copyright in U.K. Use the link to see guidance on this issue. www.gettenberg.org/wiki/Guttenberg: The Project Guttenberg License.
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
Many universities worldwide have produced these courses which are available for anyone who has an internet connection. Most courses use interaction between learners as an important part of the learning process. They are available under the Creative Commons Licence which means they are free to use. For a comprehensive list of portals for MOOCs go to www.u3asites.org.uk/advice-on-moocs/page/54736
Other Online Resources
www.downloads.bbc.co.uk/connect/BBC First Click Beginners Guide pdf for any members who are beginners with the internet.
Sources is an educational journal which is enclosed with the Third Age Matters three times a year. Each issue is devoted to one subject area and back copies are archived in the Resource Centre and available to see online once you have logged in to the members’ area.
There is a network of over 50 subject advisors, whose role is to provide advice on both the setting up of a group in their particular speciality and the sustainability of ones already in existence, which may benefit from new ideas or a different approach.
Some of the subject advisors keep in touch with group leaders through newsletters or blogs which is a useful way of sharing suggestions and good practice and some also organise study days.
They cover a wide range of subjects – American Archaeology to Wine Appreciation with a real mix of academic, practical and leisure activities in between.
Our subject advisors with their contact details can be found in each issue of Third Age Matters and they all have a page under Subject Advice in the members’ area of the national website where you can often find links to additional information, including newsletters.