Ultralab Downsizes, Anglia Ruskin University closes Ultralab

Is it a downsizing or is it a closure? Either way, it’s incredibly sad to think that twenty years of pioneering research activity is to cease as of 31st December 2006.

That is the date when the current staff at Ultralab (myself included) change roles – some will transfer into the Faculty of Education, some will stay within the new ‘teaching and learning’ unit headed up by Tony Brandt, and the rest, like me, will be made redundant. I have quite a bit to say on the matter, as you might imagine, and precious little of it very good.

What is good though is that the world class team that made up Ultralab are now released from the confines of a pretty narrow minded university to explore new avenues and take on new challenges. I am sure that we will do so with as much aplomb as ever, and I am actually really looking forward to building new projects and taking on new contracts.

I am certain that lots of mud will be slung across the internet in the next few weeks, and whilst Merlin John can claim to say ‘you read it here first’ (and the Guardian second), rest assured you’ll probably be able to find about twenty other accounts of the situation from ex-ultralab staff. I’ll write my own version after Christmas, when the dust has settled a little bit.

If you are thinking of working at or seeking employment with Anglia Ruskin University and have a notion that eLearning is a key way forward for education this century, then think again – the incoming Vice Chancellor (Mike Thorn) is rumoured to not be at all interested in that… paper based distance learning is more in line with his thinking, apparently.

With that, and the appalling manner in which the University has conducted this ‘re-structuring’, I for one am pleased to be out of harm’s way!

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