Monday, 27 February 2012

Mr Bean and the Mac

It is well known that Martin Bean, the OU Vice Chancellor, used to work for Microsoft. Students and tutors have long complained of the OU bias towards Microsoft and Windows in computing and technical support. This has been eased over the years by software flexibility in Macs allowing dual systems.

It was a challenge marking the first electronic assignments on a Mac. When the electronic marking system was upgraded, I couldn't get it to work and had to buy a cheap Windows laptop for OU work.

Someone told me about Mike Hay and his eTMA file handler.

Mike's free download provided the easiest and most robust bit of software for electronic marking that I'd found. Not only has he compiled a clear manual, but he offers telephone support when new users get stuck. I've found him more helpful than the OU computer helpdesk. Satisfied customers are encouraged to make a donation to charity to show appreciation for his efforts.

I assume that Mike knitted his bit of kit to help with his own teaching.

What does this innovation have to do with Mr Bean? It costs the OU nothing, boosts participation of Mac users and lessens criticism of the technical monoculture at the university.

How about acknowledging Mike Hay's contribution with an award?

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