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.
So I’ve taken the plunge and after 24 years am returning to the classroom to expand the mind and get a degree.
The first big decision was what to wear. Style is very important at seats of learning. It says sooooo much about you. What it usually says about me is ‘must try harder’. I was acutely aware I was going to look a middle aged old fart whatever I selected from my depressingly limited wardrobe. Jeans and T shirt were dismissed in favour of respectable chinos and a neatly pressed shirt. Coupled with a man bag I looked like a rather earnest social worker with a paunch.
I don’t know why I bothered. My fellow students in the classroom- nearly all under 25 and looking so cool without really trying- dismissed me as the class old codger with the dreaded ‘ah…bless’ look. The shame.
I cheered up as lunchtime approached. My inner body clock was telling me that Stella Artois was in the vicinity. Off we all went. My default setting in any pub is “a pint of lager please” without thinking where I am or who I’m with and I assumed many of my fellow students would be knocking back snakebite and absinthe chasers. But in a shock development which I may never recover from all 18 ordered soft drinks. So I did the same. It just didn’t feel right to be the class problem drinker. Well not yet anyway.
Fashion shame I can just about handle but a temperance degree? It’s going to be a long hard year.
The 'space to think' pod
Started life today as a part time ‘academic tutor’ in the media department of that pleasant and ambitious seat of learning the University of Sunderland. All talk among the students was of the former canteen, now a very modern and sleek study area. Taking pride of place is a pod where individuals or small cabals of students, tutors, whoever…can gather for conversation, reflection and contemplation. Those passing can see them but not hear them. The students I talked to don’t seem to ‘get it’. Perhaps with time it’ll grow on them.
First lecture went well….if you like peace and quiet. Dut to an… erm…. ‘timetable glitch’ I was left on my own.
Was It Something I Said?
The second session had a full attendance and they look a promising bunch. And that was just for turning up.
Had an egg roll for lunch. The new cafe gets off to good start.