A Virtual Fresher

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In what I suspect will be a recurring theme as the Vole adjust to life on a University campus after a 24 year hiatus I have more shock news to impart.

In the old days fifteen rather pleasant trees in Sweden had your name on them as they were ultimately destined to become study aids, books, journals and other necessary printed items for your period in an academic institution.

My how times have changed. Yesterday we were given what I assumed would be the first of many handbooks and guides. A room at Vole Towers had been allocated for storage. It was destined to be a very physical reminder of the task ahead. Read two shelves and get a degree.

Then our ‘module leader’ said those would be the last pieces of paper we’d see over the next year.  Everything would be done online. Amazing.

E-Learning is what it’s all about so we’ve had sessions on everything from virtual studying an virtual resources to virtual assessments and virtual pastoral care.  And even in the library you can now ‘e-snitch’ on noisy students!  Another heavy IT session looms this afternoon.

Do University’s now rely on e-protests; e-karaoke and e-hangovers? Thankfully no,  judging by the states I saw this morning. It cheered me up no end.

I’m off for an E-Guinness. That’s extra cold of course.


It Asda Be Dan Brown’s Day

A rare unsigned copy

A rare unsigned copy

There is nothing more dispiriting than being in a crowd. Any pride in being an individual (only dead fish go with the flow etc etc) is lost.  Such thoughts filled my head this morning when I found myself strangely drawn away from my usual route round Asda in Bishop Auckland. I tried to resist but a large group of shoppers had gathered round a display at the entrance to the store. Normally this can mean only thing…..bbq briquettes being sold for 25p a bag while the snow falls outside. But no, it was for a book.

Interest in literary matters is not something you expect from the sort of people I see shopping in superstores on a weekday morning. I do not wish to generalise but well…you know. Normally I have to hide in the healthy aisle to avoid the rush of mobility scooters driven by often very large people to get to the confectionary section (why why why).

The book is Dan Brown’s latest. The follow up to the Da Vinci Code. The global hype had arrived in Asda and so I resigned myself to snapping it up …for a fiver. Cover price £18.99. Quite a bargain.

So within 30 seconds of being in the store I’d spent £5 for something which I didn’t really need but felt I probably should have. And it was just sitting there. All shiny and new. 400 of them.

This is what annoys me about the modern shopping experience. Products are dangled in front of you in the most unexpected places. Well, of course their marketing people will have done their homework. To them they are in the most expected places.

And so that’s why I’d bought wine three aisles before the booze section and various cleaning implements for Mrs Vole shortly after negotiating the parsnips.

I am outraged, but will of course be back next week. Jordan’s latest paperback might be on sale.