Dear Readers, as you were all so long-suffering while I was studying for my Open University science degree this year, I thought the least I could do was share with you my results for my 2022/23 courses. This is the first year of study that actually counts towards my degree, so I’m very happy that I’ve got a good foundation, and I’ve absolutely loved everything that I’ve studied this year. I’m grateful that I have the time and resources to do this, and I can definitely feel it expanding my brain.
But what does the next year hold? I’m going back to Environmental Science next year, having done a year of biology, and will be studying module DST206 – Environment – Sharing a Dynamic Planet. The blurb says:
‘Environmental issues pose challenges. What are the biophysical and social causes of environmental change? What exactly is an environmental issue and why are they often controversial and difficult to resolve? How can we make a difference? You’ll address all of these questions as you explore four key global environmental concerns – life, water, carbon, and food – through a rich and interactive set of study materials. As you do so, you’ll develop a distinctive way of thinking about environments and environmental issues that draws on the insights of both natural and social sciences to be at once intellectually innovative and practically relevant.’
So, having been extremely ‘sciencey’ for three years, this module brings in some of the social aspects of environment issues: I don’t think that you can think about the science without considering the impact that the changes we’re seeing will have on people. I expect it to be very challenging and intellectually stimulating, and of course I’ll keep you posted on the key things that come up for me. As I’ll be retired by the time we start (and indeed have timed my last day to be the opening day of the new module) I’ll be able to devote a bit more time to it. And it will be easier to manage one course rather than juggling two this year, fascinating though it was. It’s funny how much more time two courses take, even though the marks are the same in the end.
And because I can’t get enough of this stuff, I’ve also just signed up for the Life Sciences Online Summer School, which is free and doesn’t contribute to your overall degree, but just sounds like a lot of fun. Just look at the topics! And here’s me with a pond!
- Survey of aquatic life: Using invertebrates as an indication of water quality.
- Microbiology of water: Culturing bacteria from water samples
- Investigating the effects of varying nutrient levels on different cell lines
- Finding better sunscreens from molecules found in nature
It starts next Monday, so again I’ll keep you posted. Who knows what I’ll find out? I’m just very excited to be getting stuck into sciencing again.