Do something new today

I intended writing a whole different post today, on the matter  of Friends, but perhaps that can wait for another day… this post is not wholly unrelated to what I felt I had to say.

Sleep came late last night.  One small action yesterday left my brain in a ferment and took me back to another time and place. Another of my Future Learn courses starts next Monday (Introduction to Ecosystems) and I received email yesterday introducing the course. It mentioned that we would be invited to participate on an external web site – I Spot. Not, as it turns out, very much an external – it is an Open University initiative and it is they who are offering the Ecosystems module. I set up an account in readiness for next week and was delighted to be able to sign in with my OU computer ID. It was looking a bit rusty so I washed it down and polished it off…

I have had that ID for a long time. I had a previous login with the OU and it was name-based but when they moved to registering larger numbers of students on their systems, they changed the IDs to being initial-based. My ID had a 2 attached to my initials. I also had one with a 3 attached, as my staff login. For some reason they chose not to use 1’s at all. The friends that I made online at that time all had low digits attached to their initials and were 2’s or 3’s – a little later, we added a 27 to our little group of pals. When I last accessed the OU systems, in 2006)  the digits on identifiers were into the several hundreds. I wonder where they are now.

It was that small act of logging in with my old identifier that brought it all flooding back – the fun and the friendship and the relationships formed, some deeper than others. I still count those users as my friends, though we make contact infrequently these days and one, just one special one, will not communicate with me at all – though I shall always be there for him, should he need me.

The memories went around in my head for hours and I lay in my bed smiling over them, I was transported to a time and a place when I was popular, successful, well-employed and self-actualizing. I had great autonomy in my work, but I had even more pride in it. I had even greater pride in my studies: I worked hard and I did well.

Wonderful. But the sub-concious knows far more than the conscious memory. I woke from some distressing anxiety dreams. I spent the night at work. Despite having left the workplace in August 2003, I was wandering the corridors – specifically the one long corridor at 1st floor level that connected the separate buildings, unable to find a toilet. All the places where I remember the toilets being located had  been turned into study spaces or offices. At the same time I was fretting about the fact that I was not yet at work, had not signed in, was not getting any headway made on my work, did not even know what work I was meant to be doing and, knew not where my desk was located these days and… even worse…. was late for my second job!

Being transported back to that time and place had clearly reminded at least some part of me of all the responsibility and anxiety that comes with autonomy in the workplace. I woke a long way from that happy place that I was in when I went to bed.

This morning I am at least happy to have remembered the good times with Chris, Marj, Neil, Hoppy, ma_t, et al. I am even happier to know that I no longer have deadlines and responsibilities and 38 hours a week to account for; no staff to maintain, no meetings to attend, no statistical returns to be made, no reports or procedures to write, nothing to go wrong or to be worried about. My nerves remained jangled however and I definitely need to spin for an hour or two today, to bring myself down and into a better head space.

Sometimes I am amazed that I ever was that person, you know – you would not think so, to see me now. Only the thirst for learning remains.

On that very topic – I must remark on how much I am enjoying the Web Science module. It is brilliantly well done and will, I think, prove to be an exemplar for this style of learning presentation. We  began this Monday and there is plenty of time to catch up – you need only 3 hours a week for 6 weeks. Still places available, why not sign up? It is really very interesting.

[box title=”WEB SCIENCE: HOW THE WEB IS CHANGING THE WORLD” title_color=”#b3e0c8″]


Explore how the web has changed our world in the past 25 years and what might happen next.

I have every confidence that next week’s Ecosystems course will be every bit as good, the OU are the experts in distance learning. This module too is still signing on new registrations – why not join in? If you don’t fancy committing at that level but do have an interest in wildlife and ecology, why not check out the I Spot site – it looks rather good.(Sadly, I am finding the Android programming module a shambles and feel unable to wholeheartedly recommend it.)

It’s all free, all fun, and takes very little of your time. What’s your excuse for not learning something new today? Who knows, you might even make friends that stay with you for the rest of your life.

If you will excuse me now, I feel the need to email a few persons – just to say “hello”. Maybe, just maybe, as this is WebSci, I should venture forth into the world of Social Media to find my friends.  It goes against the grain but I could call it “Research”.

UPDATE: Stop Press – intro post from the ecosystems course:

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