HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew visited the OU yesterday, with his visit being hosted in the Jennie Lee Building where I work.
The Duke has been keen to find out more about the University’s innovative work after hearing Martin Bean (our Vice-Chancellor) interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme when FutureLearn was launched in December last year.
During the visit, the Duke took part in a round-table discussion with graduates and industry partners. He also viewed some interactive demonstrations of our innovative educational technologies, as well as speaking to OU colleagues and some of our current students.
Sadly I wasn’t one of the honoured few who got to meet our Royal visitor but he seemed to enjoy his time spent at the OU. He was especially engaged by discussions with OU staff at the OpenScience Laboratory stand and he took a particular interest in our Accessibility stand (he is patron of several organisations to support blind and deaf people, and is keen to see technology doing as much as it can to help out).
I attended the CHI2013 conference in Paris, France a couple of weeks ago, where I had a paper accepted to the GeoHCI workshop, co-authored with my colleague Anne Adams. The workshop was fantastic – great people, great projects – although I did find the main conference a bit overwhelming (with around 3400 attendees, that’s maybe not surprising). It was an intense, colourful and engaging spectacle of a conference, with many diverse research areas and fantastic presentations. I did have a few concerns over the way statistics seemed to be somewhat used and abused by people who should have known better, but overall the papers were of a very high standard. Two of my favourite papers came from the alt.chi stream: ‘Devotional gardening tools’ (paper / video preview) and the incredibly entertaining “CHI and the Future Robot Enslavement of Humankind; A Retrospective” (paper / SlideShare).