Section 1 – Resource Use

Units 1 – 4 Circular Economy & Innovation

Consolidate your learning – Web resources for self-study 

Put it all together and take a free course

The courses below are produced by the Open University in the UK, a world leader in open and distance learning. They are not language development courses, but instead focus on the topic or SDG you have learned about in Units 1 – 4. They give you an opportunity to put all of your language skills into practice and notice new vocabulary that you have learned in an authentic environment. You can begin at any time and work at your own pace. You do not need to create an account unless you would like a free statement of participation on completion.

Completion of one (or more) of these courses is entirely voluntary, and will depend on your own circumstances. The courses are free, and available at any time. You can gain a free statement of participation from the Open University on completion of the course.

Exploring economics: the secret life of t-shirts (6 hours)

This free course aims to describe what goes into making and selling t-shirts. Which resources, which markets, who is involved, the income people get, the income and value they create are all discussed. You will explore these questions at different stages of the production of a t-shirt, and you’ll use concepts from economics such as ‘supply chains’ or ‘value added’ to answer them. The course will be described using data. You should think about key numbers and data which help constructing evidence of how a t-shirt is produced, from raw cotton to our wardrobe.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define a supply chain and understand how different stages of the t-shirt production chain can be organised differently
  • engage with different data sources and their objectives
  • read into data to tell an economic story
  • evaluate what the ‘made in…’ tag on your t-shirt really means.

Textiles in Ghana (4 hours)

Textiles in Ghana carry a far greater importance than you might expect. This free course will help you to understand how textiles can carry an assortment of meanings and values, including wealth, status and office.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an awareness of the ways in which meanings and values are assigned to textiles
  • understand the changing history of the making of kente and adinkra
  • discuss the role of the market place in the changing history of kente and adinkra making.

Waste management and environmentalism in China (8 hours)

Waste management and environmentalism in China is an introduction to waste generation and waste management processes currently being practiced in China. This free course explores how the Chinese can deal with increasing volumes of waste, drawing parallels with the UK experience of waste management. It also discusses the conceptual tools that can be used to make the cycle of material use, waste production and treatment more sustainable. The course ends with a brief examination of the growth of environmentalism in China.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify some of the environmental impacts of economic growth
  • understand some concepts to more sustainably manage waste and resources
  • identify some of the emerging social responses to China’s environmental problems
  • assess individual waste management habits.

Why sustainable energy matters (9 hours)

Access to safe, clean and sustainable energy supplies is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity during the twenty-first century. This free course will survey the world’s present energy systems and their sustainability problems, together with some of the possible solutions to those problems and how these might emerge in practice.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an awareness of the current sources of energy
  • demonstrate an awareness of current solutions for energy sustainability problems.

Biofuels (5 hours)

This free course investigates what is meant by a biofuel and covers the advantages of using biofuels compared with fossil fuels. The different types of biofuel are explored, with particular emphasis on transport biofuels. Finally, the issue of whether biofuels are the complete answer to our future energy needs is considered.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of some of the basic facts, language, concepts and principles relating to plants, in particular the composition and properties of plants and the different ways in which plant products have been utilised by humans
  • demonstrate an understanding of the contribution that science can make to informed debate on issues arising from the use of plants and the threats posed to plants and their habitats
  • make sense of information presented in different ways, including textual, numerical, graphical, multimedia and web-based material.

Making creativity and innovation happen (10 hours)

Creativity and innovation address ways of doing things better and differently. This free course focuses both on individual creativity – where it comes from and how it can be developed – as well as creativity and the related concept of innovation at an organisational level. It considers how organisations can more effectively tackle the challenges posed by creativity and innovation in order to be more successful.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand different perspectives on why creativity matters
  • consider cognitive aspects of creativity and how personality and individual differences might contribute
  • explore ways in which individuals can enhance their own creative potential
  • appreciate how organisational factors, such as culture, leadership, diversity and structure can both help and hinder creativity and innovation
  • appreciate how organisations can be more strategic in their approach to creativity and innovation, including the use of creative swiping and other practices.

Sustainable innovations in enterprises (9 hours)

This free course introduces you to the importance of sustainable innovations, the role it plays in commercial and social enterprises and the importance to society. It explores cases of sustainable innovations in specialist areas – arts and humanities; science, technology and engineering; health and social care. The course also evaluates three methods for measuring the societal impacts of sustainable innovations. Learners are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences of cases where sustainable innovations drive success or failures in enterprises and how the positive impacts on society can be evaluated and sustained.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define sustainable innovation
  • analyse sustainable innovations within a specialist area
  • evaluate and measure the impact of sustainable innovation
  • engage with the social impact of sustainable innovation with confidence
  • reflect on key learning and applications to professional practice.

The oceans (15 hours)

The oceans cover more than 70 per cent of our planet. In this free course you will learn about the depths of the oceans and the properties of the water that fills them, what drives the ocean circulation and how the oceans influence our climate.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • explain in your own words, and use correctly, all the bold terms in the text
  • identify, classify and interpret various features visible on the ocean floor
  • interpret temperature and salinity plots recorded in the oceans
  • interpret spatial maps of temperature and salinity and deduce ocean circulation
  • evaluate the role of the different oceans in the global ocean circulation.

The Stories We Live By

A free online course in ecolinguistics, by the University of Gloucester, UK

‘Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories that individuals or nations live by and you change the individuals and nations themselves’ (Ben Okri, 1996. Birds of Heaven, p. 21).

This course by Arran Stibbe, Professor of Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire UK, looks at the language used in advertisements, lifestyle magazines, economics textbooks, surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese animation. In each case, the question is whether the stories that underlie texts encourage us to care about people and the ecosystems that life depends on. There are nine parts to the course, each with a video, notes and exercises, and you can access some or all of them depending on your interest. If you would like a certificate of completion you need to register for the course, otherwise registration is not necessary.

Language tools

Vocabulary extension – Use the Oxford Learner’s Word Lists (Oxford 300 and Oxford 5000)

The Oxford Learner’s Word Lists are designed to help English language learners at any level focus on the most important words to learn. Based on an extensive corpora (i.e. collections of written and spoken texts) and aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the word lists have been researched and developed together with vocabulary experts, and cover the words that you will come across in class and in your study texts.

The Oxford 3000 is a list of the 3,000 core words that every learner of English needs to know and includes words from A1 to B2 level. The Oxford 5000 is an expanded core word list for more advanced learners of English. It contains an additional 2000 words at B2 to C1 level.

Tools to use with video

VoiceTube – The video platform VoiceTube is a free site with over one hundred thousand videos with full subtitles that are highlighted as you listen so that you can listen and read at the same time. This is a self-study tool that allows you to listen and study each individual sentence within a video:

  • The videos are organised by level – Choose B2 or C1 from the left-hand menu before you begin.
  • Click on any of the subtitles to jump to that part of the video.
  • Select any of the subtitles and click on the ‘repeat sentence’ pair of arrows on the bottom left of the screen to hear the sentence repeated.
  • Turn off the subtitles by clicking the button in the bottom left of the screen if you prefer
  • You can take and save notes about the vocabulary within the script.
  • You can listen and record yourself saying sentences from the script then compare to the original
  • Click on ‘channels’ in the left-hand menu to select videos by topic.

TubeNote is an app for note-making, to use while you are watching YouTube videos.

YouGlish is a tool for developing pronunciation. Just search for any word or phrase and YouGlish will find an example in a YouTube video and take you directly to the part of the video where the phrase appears. You can then listen to the phrase in context and see the sentence that it appears in.

TubeQuizard is a self-study tool that allows you to select level, the subject you want to study, the type of film and even the accent you want to learn. TubeQuizard will generate activities for you based around the subtitles. You can then listen, fill in gaps and check your answers. There is also a search engine so that you can type in a specific phrase and find a video that contains that text.

Develop your teamwork & language skills

Participate in the Earth Day digital escape room, unlocking clues and solving puzzles to learn about Earth Day.

Use a grammar resource

Road to Grammar is a comprehensive online grammar resource.


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Develop Your English Copyright © 2024 by Susan Robbins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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