For those of you who didn’t already know, I’m working in Spain for the next few months. I have a visiting scholar fellowship with the University of Alcalá in Alcalá de Henares, just a short way from Madrid. I arrived a few days ago so have just been finding my way around, getting all the paperwork sorted out, bank account, mobile card etc.
Whilst here, I’m supporting and developing the elearning program I’ve been working on for the past couple of years in Ethiopia. Three staff from Mekelle Uni started their PhD scholarships in Alcala just over a year ago, and they’ve been joined by two more staff, Tsegay and Selamawit, who started their scholarships just a couple of weeks ago.
So, if you happen to be coming through Madrid, or if you feel like coming over to visit, then please drop me a line!
I spent my final week in Mekelle helping to run student induction sessions for the Health Sciences college. We now have around 600 students registered on elearning courses (from both Technology Institute and Health Sciences College), with over a third of these having completed our initial student survey – so we should be able to get some good information about their expectations and previous computing experiences.
As always, my last few days in Mekelle were very hectic – my workload seems to increase as I get nearer to my departure date! But we have now got over 20 classrooms in the Health Sciences College connected up to the network, with projectors and computers, so teachers no longer have to carry their laptops to be able to give a presentation, plus they have access to the internet within the classroom. Currently these computers are running on Windows, but we’ll change this so they boot across the network and act as thin client machines.
I was also helping to advise the Technology institute on how they can massively increase their computing infrastructure using the thin client model. They have many 100’s of old monitors to make use of. There is a long way to go to get this set up, especially as the institute needs to staff and train an ICT team/department.
We still have some issue regarding the fact that the labs we have aren’t able to cope with the number of students wanting to use them. I’m getting a lot of requests to allocate specific times for classes, but I’m being quite firm that the labs should remain open access, rather than becoming a substitute for the lack of maintenance in the departmental computer labs.
Am now trying to have a bit of time off in the UK (without getting bogged down in emails about the labs, training etc!), before heading to Spain to work at Alcala Uni for a few months.