25 Years of OU

The OU archive says this was summer school 1995

I know, I know, I’m silver jubilee obsessed. As this year marks my 25th anniversary at the Open University I had the idea at the start of the year to follow the mediocre hit of 25 Years of ed tech series with a 25 years of OU one. I mentioned at the end of last year that I was having a bit of a blog identity crisis, and was worried it was becoming too self absorbed. I decided to double down on the self absorption with a whole series, but then the pandemic hit and I shelved the idea.

But I’m resurrecting it now for two reasons: the first is that I fancy having a break from writing about the online pivot all the time. Second, it is kind of about the online pivot, in that much of the journey I’ve been on over the past 25 years is representative of the sort of one many educators have to go on over the next 3 months to shift online. Which might make it relevant. Kinda. Sorta.

But mostly it is a feat of self indulgence and of little interest, with perhaps around 10% of each post relevant beyond that. As well as the online pivot resonance there are other possible reasons that might come in to that 10%. I think given the state of employment in higher ed now (and particularly post-Covid), I’m probably the last generation that will have the privilege of this type of long service, so it stands as a form of historical record to what long term employment used to be like, and some of the benefits of it. I also feel there is value in the informal institutional memory long term employees hold for a university. I’m not making it a history of the OU over this period (there’s an excellent blog for this if you are interested) but the types of projects I have been involved with will have relevance for many inside and outside the OU. But yes, it’s still 90% self-indulgence, live with it.

Also, as the image at the top indicates, 1995 seems a loooooooooong time ago – it’s already nostalgic and quaint. So join me on this magical ride down memory lane (screen goes wavy)…


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