Month: May 2015

the O’Hare test

Picture taken by me in the street . No rights reserved.

You may have heard of the O’Hare test. It’s a recruitment test supposedly used by some american companies to select between candidates at interview. I learned about it in the context of young tech companies, but it may be more widespread.

The premise is that you choose the candidate who you could most imagine being able to stand if you happened to be stuck at an airport  with them for several hours before a long transfer flight.

Earlier this week I was stuck at an airport in Brussels for 9 hours.

“Due to the power outage at the Belgian Air Traffic Control (Belgocontrol) on 27th of May, our flight operations were heavily disturbed. Even though we have done our utmost to limit the effect on your travel plans, we deeply regret the fact a lot of our guests were stranded.”

Luckily the University applies the O’Hare test to the recruitment of our digital education chairs.  Sian, Dragan and I were in Brussels for an evening seminar promoting the University of Edinburgh in Europe and engaging with discussions about how  universities will use technology to meet the challenges of  2025.   After 9 hours in the airport we had a plan.

don’t panic

moocAccording to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy there are rules which determine the reaction of most life forms to emerging technologies:

  • Anything which is in your world when you are born is normal, ordinary and just a natural part of the way things work.
  • Anything which is invented in the first third of your lifespan is new and exciting and revolutionary and you could probably get a career in it.
  • Anything which is invented once you are middle aged is just against the natural order of things.

Episode 8/8 Quintessential Phase 4 ( broadcast BBC Radio 4 23/6/05)

Events, dear boy, events

The advance of allied forces, sorry MOOCs across Europe.
The advance of allied forces sorry, MOOCs across Europe.

This week I am mostly at EMOOCs conference in Mons. Although I’m supposed to be talking about MOOCs I keep getting slightly sidetracked into history conversations.

I’m thinking of The Europeana project 1914-18: untold stories & official histories of WW1. Europeana enables people to explore the digital resources of Europe’s galleries, museums, libraries, archives and audiovisual collections.  With such a resource at our fingertips (much of it OER)  it is very tempting to keep mentioning the War.

sweeping the common

Image copyright: Peter Stubbs Used with permission.

Our staff and students experience our physical estate and our digital estate. In the city of Edinburgh much of the housing stock is flats. Flats in a common stair.  Some of these flats are large, grand and very elegant. Nevertheless  they have equal shares and responsibility in common.

The experience of communal living in a shared common stair relies on  a shared commitment to hygiene: knowing when and where to put out your rubbish and taking turns to wash and clean the common.  Taking the time makes the place better for all. Each year, all across the city- notably in Marchmont and the southside- new households of students move into flats and the permanent residents begin again educating them on the mores of communal living.

Universities have large transient populations: new students and new staff each year. If it weren’t for the local community taking care of each other the whole place would fall into disrepair.

I expect you can see where I am going with this…. <whispers> it’s abit like that with OER.