Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, and welcome to the new semester at Edinburgh, and the programme.  And for those of you whose calendar has not been unduly influenced by Julius Caesar, or Pope Gregory XIII, just tell us when the New Year happens, and we can celebrate over again.  But we hope that you are currently happy and healthy too.  🙂

A particular welcome to nearly 30 colleagues who are joining the programme for the first time, and starting on An introduction to digital environments for learning (IDEL).

I say “nearly 30”.  I do have a list of names of people we are expecting to join up, but the list has been a little fluid over the last couple of weeks, for various reasons, and the disruption caused by the weather in the UK in December kept people away from their desks, and this has slowed some of the administration.  You are all nevertheless very welcome.  Take time to find your feet, but please do begin to communicate with us all via The Holyrood Hub.  You will get used to all of this during the early weeks on IDEL.

I mention the weather as it has been genuinely disruptive to the working of the administrative systems at Edinburgh.  Probably everyone on IDEL has been formally enrolled, and will find that they can access the WebCT site for the course via the MyEd portal as of Monday 10th January.  Those of you continuing on the Programme should find that you can access your courses on Monday too, but if not please don’t worry – all should be well by Tuesday or Wednesday.  We will try to keep you posted via The Hub.  But please don’t hesitate to contact us – probably me in the first instance (H.A.Macleod@ed.ac.uk) – if you have any concerns.  This is, of course, just why we delay the start of this second semester by one week relative to the rest of the University.  We need to ensure that everyone has access to the core systems before the course work starts in earnest on Monday 17th.

As I write, we have had another fall of snow overnight where I am, and it is lying on the ground and the trees.  It looks quite wet (I haven’t been out in it yet) so may begin to clear when the sun gets up – we shall see.

Best wishes to all.  I hope you have a fruitful semester.


Children in Need

Our administrative colleagues in the College Office – you may have had contact with Lyn Marshall, Dorothy Sinclair, Ros Gardiner or Linda Danczyszak – are engaging in their annual fund raising activities for the BBC charity Children in Need tomorrow (19th November).


I believe that dressing up is involved – so I plan to swing by with a camera.  They are selling cakes and the like, and also running a “spot the difference” quiz as fund raisers.

Spor the Difference
College Office Spot the Difference Competition November 2010

If you care to try out the competition, you could email your answers to Linda, and see if that puts you in line for a prize.  Although I suspect that it might get complicated.

Linda has given me a web link for anyone who would like to make a donation.


Calling all school teachers – and other supporters of young learners

I wonder if I could enlist the help of members of the Hub community?  Or one sub-section of that community.

As selector for the MSc Programme – the academic member of the team most involved with fielding queries about the Programme, and making decisions about admissions – I often hear from potential applicants from the schools sector, who ask about the HE / FE / adult education / training focus of the Programme.  They will ask whether we have participants from schools, and from sectors more particularly concerned with younger learners?  And they will then ask whether those people find the Programme of value for their purposes.  I can answer the first question – in the affirmative, of course – but the second question is a little more difficult.  I hope that the answer is “yes”, but I feel that the most useful answer would have to come from those participants themselves.

So, I wonder if I could encourage those of you more concerned with younger learners to start a conversation – in the Hub – about the strengths and weaknesses of the Programme, and its various components, from your perspectives?  I would then be in a position to point any potential applicants, with that question in mind, to an authentic source of opinion.

Could I encourage you to start a discussion forum on this issue?  I would be most grateful.  Over to you.