Steve Walker

Some less or more well-organised thoughts


with 4 comments

This blog has been languishing since last summer. Since then, I’ve moved to the Open University. I’ve long been an admirer of the OU, with fond memories of the late night broadcasts of the 70s. It never ceases to amaze me that so many remember them for the appearance of the presenters (I’m looking forward to seeing how many of the ‘cool’ YouTube videos stand the test of time); much more significantly they were groundbreaking uses of technology to make higher education available to a wider audience, whether registered on a course or not. I enjoyed the peeks they offered into all manner of disciplines, but one that particularly sticks in the mind is a programme demonstrating the div, grad and curl functions with great clarity with the aid of a large tank of water; something that had baffled me as an undergraduate (though that may be related to my attendance at lectures…).

Over the last few years, I’ve done a fair amount of work in the area of learning technologies myself. The OU has stayeed at the forefront through its online and web-based distance learning technologies. It’s an exciting place to be.

But the immediate inspiration for having another go at keeping a blog has been seeing the work of colleagues in my new department, of Communications and Systems. Tony Hirst reacted to Stephen Carter’s ‘Digital Britain – Interim Report‘ and the rather limited opportunities to respond by creating (with Joss Winn) Here, the report is broken down and can be commented paragraph by paragraph (as reported in the Guardian). He’s also written an open letter to Carter and his team inviting them to treat this as a contribution to the consultation. It will be interesting to see to what extent they have grasped the significance of ‘Digital Britain’; the evidence of the interim report is not encouraging.


Written by Steve

February 7, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Posted in social media

4 Responses

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  1. Hi Steve

    Thanks for the comments… I can see from your interests/publications why writetoreply might be of interest…:-)

    You may notice from my lack of publications over the last few years that I’m not really engaging in the trad research dissemination thing anymore (and not really doing ‘rigorous’ research at all)

    So if you want access to, well, anything really about how we’re doing the writetoreply thing, for a ‘research’ paper, just ask… the answers could come back in a variety of ways, though – blog posts, tweets, f2f, even email… 😉

    Maybe next time I’m in MK we could grab a coffee?? 🙂

    Tony Hirst

    February 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

  2. Hi Tony,

    Yes, writetoreply is pretty close to some of my interests!

    That’s a good idea; something we could perhaps work on together. I’m down in MK on Tuesday (weather permitting); I’ve already filled up the the day, but if you’re around after five? Otherwise, I’ll get in touch nexct time I’m down.



    February 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm

  3. Ha Ha Steve – “I’ve moved the Open University” – Wish!!

    Where would you move it to, if you could?

    as ever, and thanks for link to Shaun’s column – little bugger never tells me anything,


    Richard Hull

    February 11, 2009 at 3:03 pm

  4. I think I’m developing an increasing blindness to my typos… If I could, I’d move it to Yorkshire, or possibly Manchester!


    February 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm

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