Books,  higher ed,  Music,  review

Like an extinct fish: January review


Seeing as January seemed to last about a year, I may as well do a review of themes over it as if it was an end of year review. I may attempt one of these at the end of every month with the same headings.

Highlight: I sent the complete draft manuscript of my book Metaphors of Ed Tech off to the publisher, Athabasca University Press

Teaching: In IET under the tireless direction of my colleague Leigh-Anne Perryman we continue to develop Microcredentials for the FutureLearn platform. We have a new one, Online Teaching: Accessibility and Inclusive Learning, starting in March which joins these as part of our online learning suite: Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners; Online Teaching: Evaluating and Improving Courses; Teacher Development: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum

Theme: If there is a theme to January in higher ed and ed tech in general, I think it is best summarised as ‘Pandemic fatigue’. This is manifest in several ways – tired of all the conferences and journal call for papers looking at lessons of the pandemic; exhausted that it is still going on; frustrated that much of the initial empathy has gone and now it’s just workload; frighteningly inured to governmental incompetence. It’s January, it’s dark and miserable (in the UK anyway) and it’s just going on and on and on.

Lowlight: Related to the above, I think I felt overwhelmed this month more than any time in my 26 years at the OU. I also think I just wasn’t very good at my job. If your workload is 130% and your capacity is hovering around 70% it doesn’t take long to feel overwhelmed.

Vinyl highlight: Purchasing records is my retail therapy, don’t judge me. In keeping with the general melancholia of the month I have been listening to a LOT of Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co/Jason Molina. I particularly relished the box set of Love and Work with natty postcards, plectrum and letter.

Book: I read Samantha Weinberg’s A Fish Caught in Time: The Search for the Coelacanth in a day. It’s a rollicking good yarn, full of interesting characters and who can fail to the love the coelacanth, the fish that just carried on doing its thing when everyone thought it was extinct (insert your own educational metaphor here).


  • Clint Lalonde

    You had me at coelacanth! Like the Loch Ness monster, the story of that prehistoric fish occupied a good chunk of my pre-teen “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” headspace. I did not know there was a book about it! Thanks.

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