The learning opportunities provided through the Society for all members fall into five main areas. The details of each are outlined below.
Lectures are where the speaker gives an input for around forty-five minutes so that members are able to listen to and benefit from their expertise. At the end of the lecture, there is always a question and answer session so members are able to more fully explore what they have seen and heard. Lecturers are encouraged to identify further reading or learning opportunities that members can take up if they wish to explore the subject more fully. Members themselves are also asked to identify subjects that they would like an expert to be engaged by SUES on, often from a local university.
Courses are not just one-off events but take place over a number of sessions, typically from six to ten weeks in length. They seek to provide a more in-depth knowledge of the subject under study and a greater understanding about it. Members are encouraged to attend all sessions, which make up the whole course, but in the future online facilities and recording will be available to enable members not able to attend all sessions to not miss out. Unlike lectures, courses are more interactive, and sessions are longer at around two hours with a break for refreshments and socialising in-between. There are opportunities to interact with the course provider throughout and to be fully engaged with the subject.
Seminars are arranged to enable students currently researching for their doctorate qualifications are invited to give a brief presentation of their work and engage in a question and answer session on it with the audience. Each student is given about half-an-hour and two students are brought together at each seminar. In this way, the students have an opportunity to share their findings and receive support for their endeavours. It also firms up the links SUES has with local colleges and universities and reveals new and interesting areas of learning.
(d) Trips and Visits
Each year, where possible, the learning opportunities for members are enhanced by organised trips and visits. In recent times, a ‘lichen walk’ has been arranged to enlighten members about local flora and visits have been organised to both Scarisbrick Hall and to Meols Hall. Each event is supported by led by an enlightened guide and information is provided both verbally and in written form to take away and enjoy. Every trip or visit ends with some refreshments concluding an annual summer social event for SUES members.
On-line provision was developed and used with great success during the time of the coronavirus pandemic. It remains an option for SUES and it is expected that in the future, learning will be offered at times that are not suitable to all those who would otherwise like to join in. This can be through work or personal commitments, illness or simply because they are unable to travel to the meetings. The intention is to record all future meetings in the church hall and post these on-line through out website for members to access. Not only will this enable all existing members to catch them or watch them a second time but potential members will also be able to sample the learning opportunities we provide.