Physics Learning Resources

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By Emily, Physics
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham

In the midst of preparing for university, a common worry is the need to find books to cover the course material. Whilst books are of utmost importance to more literary-based courses, in the EPS department, you’ll find that there are many other equally helpful resources available alongside them. Be sure to try them all out to develop a working-style that works for you – everyone’s blend will be different.

The University of Birmingham uses Canvas – a website and app which contains homepages for each module of your course. Module pages contain details such as who will be teaching, how the module is assessed, as well as your assessment grades. Most importantly, it is here that lecturers will upload slides, notes, past-exam papers and non-assessed problems.

Lecturers often have office hours too, which enable you to speak to them in person about any problems or questions you might have. The times of these appointments can usually be found on the Canvas page or by contacting the lecturer in question. Of course, you can email them with your queries if you prefer.

Another useful tool from the University is Panopto, a website where you can watch recorded lectures, allowing you to learn from them at your own pace (with a pause button), with any revision notes at hand. It’s not intended to be solely relied on but is helpful for covering absences or as a revision tool.

The university campus also provides a great resource in the form of the library. Full of almost two million loanable books, the university library can save you money and provides a reliably-quiet place to sit and study. If you’re not sure the book you want is there, you can use the online findit@bham service to check if it’s available, as well as find where it’s located amongst the two million.

You can also use this service to request books which are already checked out, making them loaned to you and ready to take home as soon as they’re returned. With computers and study rooms, the library is a great place for revision and in which to spend those in-between-lecture hours.

Finally, before buying books, use the ResourcesList@bham facility to find out which ones you should buy (or loan). Once you know which modules you’re taking (these can be seen by finding your course on the Programmes and Modules Handbook), you can search for the reading lists of those modules using this facility. There’s no need to stress. With so many resources available, you’ll find a blend that works for you.