Tuesday 30 September 2008

UK's best Universities

A post inspired in part by Chris Keene's post at http://www.nostuff.org/words/2008/top-20-uk-universities/

Chris asks 'What are the top 20 Universities in the UK?'. (via Twitter)

Reading the comments is interesting, and I considered my answer, albeit briefly, before posting. You will notice that many of my top 20 are not Russell Group, not traditional red brick Uni's, but ex-poly's, mostly post 92.

My thinking around this was that I could only really comment on those Uni's that I'd had an interaction with professionally, either in my current role as Information Resources Manager, or in previous roles (LMS Project Manager, Learning Technologist). I don't really watch the league tables, as it is likely that our place will move up slightly but will never hit the top 10.

If I had answered with the Oxford's and Cambridge's of this world, I'd have been talking about perception, a wider perception than my own. The comment may come across as pretentious, or as a stand for the underdogs but it isn't intended to be either. And, it is such a broad question that I felt it would be useful to focus the attention - best for what?

On another point entirely, I'm meeting with Linda Rush tomorrow to discuss our new READ project, loosely based on something that UWE have been doing over the past few years. I'm really looking forward to this, and assisting in delivering a couple of professional development sessions for academic colleagues over the next couple of months.

Part of the initial discussion will be around the definition of academic reading, how we put reading lists together and what we mean by essential, desirable etc. The expectations of students and staff are key in understanding this, however are very rarely discussed at any level of study.

I'll keep you informed on progress!

Friday 19 September 2008

Living it up in the smoke..

I got talking to a couple of fella's on the train a few weeks ago. We were discussing the merits of finding a good hotel in London for pretty cheap, they were self employed, and I'm tight with the company's money! Now, I have stayed in London a few times, and have to say that it is usually a not very nice experience - lots of traffic noise, not great customer service, and hotels that are missing an 's' before the 't'.

One of these chaps suggested using Laterooms.com which I had heard of, divulging that they had had some great deals with 5* hotels for not a lot of dosh. I've been playing about tonight, trying to suss out a good hotel (a bit luxurious if I'm not in my own bed, and away from my family) that is handy for Euston station, University of London and Westminister Abbey that looks relatively safe for a lone female traveller. Having spent 2 hours faffing about, I'm still no better off, and am wondering if being conscientious really is worth it.

My payoff - should there be one, will be that I'll get a good expensive hotel, for a decent acceptable price for the company. So, my question to you is - Do you know the way to San Jose?, sorry - wrong question - Any good hotels in London near Euston??

p.s. I could crash at friends, but after a day's business meeting will really just want to chill and watch telly, and not make much effort to be sociable!