Jock's Backroom Blog

Views from the Backroom, and the Classroom, at Oxford Brookes University


Posted by Jock Coats on 12th December 2009

Well, I finally stumbled across when doing a search for people who blog at or about Oxford Brookes. Some of you will likely know of my efforts at blogging in the “outside world” which is mostly about things like politics, economics, housing and such like, but where I have deliberately tried to steer clear of issues regarding Oxford Brookes. We’ve all heard stories about employees who suffer because of blogging about their employers, and whilst I am sure Brookes is not that kind of a place (“academic freedom” and all that!) it just didn’t seem to be the right thing to mix in stuff about Brookes amongst the politics and so on.

But as I get more and more into reading others’ blogs it has often struck me how many academics there are out there who maintain a blog, often posting their ideas and information about their research, and often also on platforms that explicitly link them to their institutions, and I have moaned for a while now about Brookes not having a similar facility. Well that taught me didn’t it – apparently this has been up and running for a while now – 18 months in its current incarnation, and somewhat longer before that as a teaching resource in the Westminster Institute and I’m just a “late comer” to this particular party (though there are still precious few of us on here thanks in part to the lack of promotion of the facility around the institution).

Anyway, no matter, I am pleased to have found it; it seems to offer a platform that, whilst people retain their own intellectual property rights over things they post, is sufficiently linked to Brookes itself as to enable us to have our very own little community that could both enhance the reputation of the university by allowing folk to show-case their world leading ideas and the credentials of those who choose to use it by linking to their institution.

If it seems to be a bit of a backwater at present, I rather hope we can change that somewhat, promote it more widely to both staff and students and share our work and opinions around our little community as well as the wider online world.

For my own part, when I ran for the non-teaching staff governor post three (yes, three! – I know, tempus fugit and all that) years ago now, I pledged to get this sort of interactive communications channel up and running to keep colleagues better informed about what went on in the Boardroom and enable a mechanism by which they could feed concerns and issues in to me at the same time. So I think that now provides that sort of forum and saves me the effort and potential embarrassment of having a go at it myself and not doing so well perhaps!

So, I shall probably be exactly the opposite on here to what I do on my blog: steer clear of the political controversy and focus on Brookes related issues that I hope colleagues find useful – and try and walk that narrow line between being too critical and too “on message”…

My “day job” is in Computer Services looking after desktop computing needs of our non-teaching directorates (c. 600 users we estimate) – hence the “backroom” bit of the strapline, and, as mentioned, am currently the non-teaching staff governor on the university’s board – hence the “boardroom” bit. I also, for now at least, am a Warden in what was known for the thick end of forty years as “Morrell Hall” – so am a truly Brookes “24/7” committed person and with views, interests and opinions on issues well beyond the remit of my day-job.

So, stick with it, use the RSS feature to subscribe to new articles as I put them up and hopefully get engaged through comments and so on with issues that interest you.


Posted in Brookes | 2 Comments »