June 14, 2024

Student learns about computer programming and the mysteries of the universe – at 93

A student has been learning about computer programming and the mysteries of the universe – at the grand old age of 93.

Roy Palmer has proved that you are never too old to learn as he has studied more than 60 free courses with The Open University.

The Cheltenham care home resident has gained knowledge and been entertained by courses he has taken on the OU’s home of free learning OpenLearn and on its partner site FutureLearn.

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For almost 10 years, Roy, a popular resident at the Whittington House Nursing Home, has spent his time studying free learning courses across the two educational platforms.

The variation of intensity and stop-start flexibility means he can dip into learning for short or long periods of time, depending on the course and his time.

A former Open University maths graduate, Roy is a born learner and teacher. Having lived in Cheltenham for most of his life, he worked as a lecturer at Gloucestershire College, having gained his first degree in engineering at the University of Nottingham.

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He said: “Some years ago I realised these short courses were available from the OU and I found them very interesting and just started doing more and more. They’re so engaging.

“Then I discovered FutureLearn where I can take courses by lots of different universities, and I can join the discussion groups with comments by other learners all over the world. I look forward to that bit, you can learn so much from the comments.”

Roy has enjoyed many different courses across a broad spectrum of subjects on OpenLearn, ranging from an introduction to ecosystems, and space study to history courses such as ones about the Romans and Hadrian’s Wall.

On FutureLearn he’s found learning produced by a choice of universities and other institutions worldwide. He has explored more astronomical learning as well as classic detective fiction and the First World War.

Roy lost his wife Lilia in July 2020 to COVID-19. He was fortunate to survive himself but having earlier suffered a stroke, it means he is now much less mobile.

He said: “I can’t move about any more, but I can occupy myself through all this great study. If I’d not had the stroke, I’d still be at home cutting the grass.

“I would recommend it to anyone, it’s amazing and free. It’s not as if I am learning for a career, I am learning for my own interest.”

Whittington House’s lead wellbeing co-ordinator, Fausta Scarano, said Roy was well known for keeping himself busy and stimulated. He also reads extensively and watches films and documentaries.

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