Remote Learning

Welcome to our new page that will give you, our members, some ideas and resources to access on-line and to other services that may keep your mind ‘ticking’ or simply fill in some time when you are unable to enjoy the regular fellowship and learning with U3A Members.

Topics include: Arts, Business, Comedy, Education, Government & Politics, Health & Fitness, History, Leisure, Religion & Spirituality, Science, Sports, Technology and TV & Film. ABC Radio Podcasts Podcasts need an app to listen to them on your smartphone. The ABC Listen App does the job well on both Android and Apple devices.
Here’s a couple of Government initiatives with objectives that are about all Australians getting the best out of their technology plus avoiding some of the mischievous problems that are causing hassles with using the Internet.
  1. Be Connected – Every Australian Online  Join thousands of Australians who are taking our free courses on everything from how to access the internet, using your device and keeping in touch with others online.
  2. Scamwatch  is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
There’s more on this website about these annoying Internet problems and how the protect your technology equipment from these nuisances.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia, an independent source of statistics. COVID-19 Map visit Johns Hopkins University for maps and statistic from around the world. This site, albeit US based,  is also a good source of lifestyle tips, see COVID-19 Basics. Below are links (each will open a new Window or Tab) to reports from The Conversation about aspects of dealing with the Coronavirus Pandemic. Coronavirus: why should we stay 1.5 metres away from each other?

“The Australian government is recommending we stay 1.5 metres away from each other, one of several social distancing moves designed to limit spread of the coronavirus.

Why 1.5 metres? Is this our best, practical estimate? Or is there any solid scientific evidence to back it?

Social distancing: What it is and why it’s the best tool we have to fight the coronavirus

“What is social distancing? Social distancing is a tool public health officials recommend to slow the spread of a disease that is being passed from person to person. Simply put, it means that people stay far enough away from each other so that the coronavirus – or any pathogen – cannot spread from one person to another.”

To get on top of the coronavirus, we also need to test people without symptoms

“As the World Health Organisation keeps reminding health officials around the world, in order to get COVID-19 under control, we must “test, test, test”.  Along with tracing contacts of cases, travel bans and social distancing, testing is one of the four key planks in our pandemic response to SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  Widespread testing has been the key to reducing transmission in South Korea, which was able to use only limited lockdowns because it tested at a mass scale.”

A point of view from one of the world’s most active philanthropists – Bill Gates

Philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates offers insights into the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing why testing and self-isolation are essential, which medical advancements show promise and what it will take for the world to endure this crisis.

This is an international university based online learning initiative that has lots of content that maybe of short-term and of longer term interest to U3Aers.  Six or so Australian Universities are affiliated as partners, including Newcastle, UNSW and Wollongong.

Future Learn Their short-course content is largely targeted at undergraduate students, however it has many topics that will appeal to the wider community. The short courses are FREE.

The first of three examples shown below is a course that is about seniors and falls. It is called Ageing Well: Falls – Explore why people fall, discover practical methods to reduce the risk of falling, and recognise when to seek expert help. This short course has a very inclusive audience, from students, related practitioners and those who fall!

Check out the course list, it could take you 30 minutes or so.

The National Library of Australia has many facets to its valuable role. This Website builder’s most used and I guess favourite is Trove.  It is amazingly useful for researching old newspapers and other items from the NLA archive.

My starting point is here: and here’s a short promotional video from the NLA.

Have a look, in these challenging times you can learn about how our parents and grandparents survived the Spanish Flu. Sadly, our antecedents will have known many who didn’t survive.

There’s much more: gold rushes, wars, maritime history, local history, scandal, sport, politics and one I’ll share with you – the only public statue in Australia that was funded by public subscription.

Using the link above I searched James Fletcher Statue unveiling and I selected the option Illustrated.

Here’s my selection from the search: THE LATE Mr. JAMES FLETCHER. UNVEILING THE STATUE

[Phil Warren, Website Admin]

Free crosswords daily from the Guardian (UK). Do online or print a copy. Click here.
Free Sudoku puzzles. Do online or print a copy. Click here.
Free Hashi puzzles. Hashi is a puzzle where you must link circles with lines. Each puzzle has a unique solution. If you like Sudoku, you will enjoy this. Click here.
Do jigsaw puzzles on your computer. Click here.
List sourced from U3A Armidale.

This one could be risky, some may forget to eat or sleep.  Brainzilla is a website dedicated to everyone who likes to have fun and exercise the brain. The activities are good because:

  • They enrich logic, critical thinking, and problem solving skills;
  • They are free and easy to use and understand;
  • You don’t have to register or download anything to play;
  • They can be played on tablets and on mobile phones;
  • They are suitable for all ages.

LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.  Visit it is very interesting.Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education.

Project Gutenberg eBooks are mostly older literary works. Most were published before 1924, with some published in the decades after. Try using the Bookshelves to browse by genre, age group, and topic.

Do visit Project Gutenberg Australia.  It is a sister site of Project Gutenberg, though there is no formal relationship between the two organizations. The site hosts free ebooks or e-texts which are in the public domain in Australia.

Link to the State Library of NSW (Home page)

Here’s the State Libraries description of the eResources page:

“We’re committed to delivering free access to our eresources collection that is current, relevant and complements the Library’s physical collections.

We provide access to an extensive range of eresources, including:

TED Ideas worth spreading.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Here are some links to a selection of TED talks – there’s lots of worthwhile ideas to consider.

Some TED playlists (multiple talks):

How to tell a story

Why art is important to democracy

The most popular talks of 2019

Here’s a search of TED – Australia

“The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public.  Our team of professional editors work with university, CSIRO and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.” Try it, you won’t be disappointed! A very readable and independent opinion on many contemporary issues of the day. International editions are also available.

Video Meetings, sounds a little boring doesn’t it, not really!

Video tools are built into many of the technology gadgets we take for granted. Facebook’s Messenger is so easy to use for video calls one-one, they call it Video Chat and it also has a group chat option.  If you use Messenger check it out if you haven’t already done so.

With our U3As in shutdown there are group possibilities to run talk sessions and tutorial like seminars.  One widely used and well reviewed product is Zoom. It is quite usable and Zoom has a free option to get started and it really works!

Here’s a couple of tutorials that will assist users get started (1) with ZOOM on a Computer and (2) with ZOOM using a Mobile App for those who wish to use an Android or an Apple device.

YouTube has videos on just about everything. Here’s a link to the site: Finding your topic is a key to getting your rewards with YouTube. For example, searching Lord Howe Island on the YouTube Home page will give good results.  On smaller screen devices the YouTube App for both Android and Apple is a good way to access YouTube videos.  Remember many are free, however some videos are commercial. Similarly searching Google as follows will give helpful results youtube “Lord Howe Island”

As a subscriber you may create ‘watch later’ and ‘playlists’.

Some other rewarding ‘looks’:

Berliner Philharmoniker

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

TED Talks

Time Team

Life certainly isn’t hectic in mid-2020, YouTube does cater for what is called Slow TV, like SBS’ train journeys across the Nullabor or through Alice Springs to Darwin.  Here’s a link to YouTube’s Slow TV & Background Channel How about 10 hours of waves on rocks?  Let’s be honest it is an acquired taste!