Section 3 – Struggle

Units 9 – 12 City Life and Dignity

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 the previous units. 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.

Changing cities (15 hours)

Urban processes are increasingly held to be responsible for causing a variety of problems environmental destruction, social injustice, global financial instability. They are also identified as harbouring the potential to meet these challenges through urban experiments in sustainable living, creative culture and alternative economies. This free course explores how contemporary processes of urbanisation challenge how we think about political agency, providing a framework for the analysis of the causes, implications and responses to issues of common concern.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key theories and styles of critical spatial thinking and decision making as they relate to the challenge of transforming urban areas
  • apply a range of critical spatial and social theories to the analysis of specific issues
  • track the way that issues and challenges facing specific places emerge and manifest themselves
  • negotiate between a global level of analysis and the issues that are manifest in specific places.

Understanding water quality (10 hours)

Please note, this course was written in 2003/2004 therefore some of the information is now outdated.

Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is essential to human survival. Understanding the global water cycle and how we use water is essential to planning a sustainable source of water for the future. In the UK there are areas where water supplies are limited, shown by recent droughts. Globally, there are many areas that do not have enough water to support the current population adequately. Decisions will have to be made on the best way to use water in a world where there is climate change. This free course helps explain the options.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • describe the chemical compositions of natural waters, and explain how and why these compositions vary
  • describe the main sources of water pollution, the main types of pollutant and how each type may be controlled
  • outline the extent of water pollution in the UK and in selected global locations
  • identify the criteria for drinking water acceptability in the EU, and outline the processes used to treat water for a public water supply
  • outline how sewage may be treated before discharge to the environment.

Justice, fairness and mediation (4 hours)

This free course considers the concepts of justice and fairness from various perspectives but mainly focuses on effective policing and community empowerment. The course was produced by The Open University in association with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the various ways in which fairness and justice can be perceived
  • understand the concept of restorative justice
  • appreciate various forms of alternative dispute resolution
  • reflect on the value of mediation to resolve community disputes.

Who counts as a refugee? (10 hours)

The words ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ have a wide variety of connotations in Britain, many of them negative. This free course explores how changing social policy and terminology help to shape, and are shaped by, the experiences of people seeking asylum in the UK.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand changing constructions of ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ over the last century
  • Identify ways in which the study of refugees and asylum seekers raises profound questions about the basis and legitimacy of claims for ‘citizenship’
  • understand how the personal lives of refugees and asylum seekers have been shaped by social policy that constructs them as ‘other’
  • understand how refugees and asylum seekers have negotiated and resisted these effects and themselves shaped social policy
  • understand how ‘knowledge’ about refugees and asylum seekers is produced and reproduced through research

Energy in Buildings (10 hours)

Themes covered in this free course include reducing heating demand in buildings, heating systems and fuel emissions, and reducing electricity use by appliances. The course looks at the importance of energy in buildings in the UK, investigate heat loss and how to prevent it, ways of increasing building efficiency, decreasing CO2 emissions of different fuels and the use of efficient appliances.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the main ways in which a house loses heat energy
  • carry out basic U-value calculations for windows and insulation materials
  • understand the factors influencing heating system efficiency
  • carry out basic calculations concerning the efficiencies and CO2 emissions of different heating systems
  • carry out basic calculations concerning lighting.

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.

Publish your writing

Letters to the Earth is a website where people from all over the world of all ages are submitting and sharing their letters. You can find resources to help you write and letter on the website as well as details about how to submit.

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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