lighting out for the territories


This week has been amazing already, so many people to see  and things to do before I go. I have been clearing out my desk and my emails and remembering again how much fun it has been to work here.

Edinburgh University have already been very patient. Time comes for me to go.

I am delighted to have had such a lovely venue for my leaving party, 6 years of working in a film set leaves you spoilt for choice for beautiful venues at Oxford but the Pitt-Rivers Museum is one of my favourite. I apologise for any sticky finger prints caused by our cupcakes.

Looking back, I had actually been to Oxford several times before getting the job as Head of LTG. I used to regularly attend the annual Shock and Beyond conferences. I’d come here to learn about new technologies and then take the messages back to Royal Holloway and Leeds.

One particular moment at one of the conferences sticks in my mind. A colleague in the assembled audience, after listening to the presentation, commented that she thought the particular use of technology being described was fantastic.  It took me a moment, but I realised by the tone of her voice, that she didn’t mean good.  She meant unrealistic and unlikely.  I decided then that I wanted to work in this place where words are used carefully  and the received wisdom around reasons for using technology in teaching  are rightly and roundly challenged.

Thank you to  Chris, Rebecca, Stuart and Paul for giving me this opportunity.

I must thank all my teams and team leaders for their hard work over the years: Pete, Adam, Dave, Grazyna, Howard, Kath, Kate, Liz, Joe and Lisa. Judy for keeping me in budget, Bernadette  and Sandie for making sure I was in the right place at the right time,  and my co-director, Sebastian for  many late night email conversations.

johnson12-ltd-0001-0Also the many colleagues from OUCS and IT Services who always went the extra mile to do the things around the edges and in between, things which can’t quite be categorised on spreadsheets as service enhancements or project management, but nonelethless  make this a cool place to work; more colourful, more accessible, more balanced.

As you know, I’m a woman who likes a theme.  Colleagues have indulged me and joined me in  finding new ways to deliver the engagement activities of Academic IT via the media of  Ada Lovelace Day, OxTALENT, Shock, Beyond,  Speak like  a Pirate Day, International Womens Day, Open Advent calenders, Art Weeks, Safer Internet Day,  Breakfast at IT Services,  World Book WeekOpen Education week and Learning at Work week.

I have special thanks to Alun for sending me to cover for him at a meeting where I learned for the first time about  the John Johnson Collection of digitized printed ephemera from which has followed so many happy twilight hours finding just the right image for my blog posts.

Thank you to John, Tony, Janet and Dom for building an entire blog service  in order to host me.

I am moving back to Scotland in time to vote in the independence referendum.  If you feel like arguing the toss and joining in the debate, I can recommend a very good just in time MOOC  which will welcome you and learners from all over the world.

The future for Academic IT here looks really positive.  Anne, Stuart, Darrell and the other senior managers have a new project methodology coming together and a clear capital plan for the next ten years with plenty room for learning and teaching innovation.  Look forward to new pilots and projects from all  the teams. I’ll be watching.

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