This views expressed in this post are my own and do not represent in any way the views of my employer.
It was with sadness that I read Brian Kelly’s blog post yesterday about the demise in all but name of UKOLN. As a former member of the eLearning team at the University of Bath I know some of the people involved personally, so this post not only expresses my feelings about the lost of a great service in UKOLN but about the impact of this decision on those individuals. Sadly, it is via changes (which may be perceived as small in the bigger scheme of things, not small to those involved) that we are seeing the HE sector inexorably changed, similar to what is happening in the NHS. When the rich experience of the individuals involved is lost, history has shown us that it takes far longer than anticipated to build up that experience again.
To all those all involved I just wanted to say; I know you’re probably feeling a range of emotions rights now. Anger, fear, frustration, disbelief (that curve Brian, is reasonably accurate) but take heart from someone who’s been through some similar experiences. Hold your heads high, have a look at some of the comments on Brian’s blog post (print it out so you’ve got a copy). You should all be incredibly proud of the achievements that you have collectively produced as UKOLN. I know that being proud only goes so far when you’re worrying about the mortgage and bills and I don’t have a crystal ball to say everything is going to be fine. But you are all talented individuals and there is a path out there for you. Sometimes it takes a while to notice where it is and sometimes you don’t realise you been on it for a while til you take time to look back.
And Brian -the other end of a dynamic corridor! I wish you well and wanted to say it was great working with you, exchanging ideas, showing off new techie gadgets and to chat about folkie related things. Again, take heart from all those comments on your post. And when your head’s recovered from the beer and clubbing know that there is a substantive part of the HE sector that has valued your contribution and your thoughtful, informative, considered posts. I have never known a time when I mention at a conference having worked with you, someone else in the room pipes up, ‘Oh, yes I know Brian Kelly!’. There is a message in that for you!
So, good luck to all those UKOLN who have been affected by this, we thank you for the richness, professionalism, energy you have brought to the sector. It really will be poorer without you and all the very best wishes for whatever the future holds for you.
And to JISC, – really what were you thinking!