Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Oxford University Course

This week sees me embarking on another course with Oxford University, this is my fourth. This course does not carry any transferable credits but is a CPD or continuing professional development course. Don't you just hate TLAs?  A prize for the first reader to identify what a TLA is.
So, what is this course about? It's entitled Effective Online Tutoring. So far it looks great, based around Moodle; explore the link below if you'd like to know more about what that is. It uses blogs, wikis, VLEs (there's another one), and all manner of e-learning type tools. I figured it was time to update my knowledge in this area as the future is definitely along this path. Who knows, if I enjoy it I may pursue some postgraduate modules in e-learning. I've taken a peek at some blogs written by one of my old colleagues from the British Council and the content of these e-learning degrees interests me greatly. 
The best thing about this course though, is that the certificate will be in my name but the invoice will be in my employer's name. 

 Here is a link to the Moodle website  

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Season of mellow fruitfulness

England is a lovely place! I had forgotten the smells of autumn, the colours of  deciduous leaves and the sounds of dried leaves underfoot. I watched my girls playing in dried leaves today; throwing them up and laughing as they fell all around them. Clad in warm jackets, scarves, hats and gloves; so different from Thailand, where I swear it was hotter when I left than the day I arrived. We bought pumpkins on the way home to carve into lanterns.  I'm very glad to be back again in England.

Air battle of the gulf states

England once more. Home this time via Manchester airport and train to York. I will never understand airline fare structures and have stopped trying to see through the illogicality to the kernel of sense; I don't believe there is one anymore. Those of you who know me will know that I have travelled inter-continentally by Emirates for many years. Sometimes another airline may undercut them a little but the good service and growing number of air-miles I am amassing on their system outweigh any serious financial considerations. Not so this trip. My wife and family were returning with me so we were going to book them on the same Emirates flight as I was booked on. Shock! even horror at the quoted prices. Suffice to say I flew home via Doha on Qatar Airlines. Even paying for train-fares from Manchester for four, then to Newcastle for one (my car was in Northumberland), it was cheaper by Qatar for me to forget my paid-for return and buy four new tickets plus rail fares. How much cheaper?
Well, I'm writing this on a brand new Acer Timeline Laptop, bought with the remaining difference. As I say airline pricing is a black art to me.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Visa at last!!

After months of waiting, my wife now has a settlement visa for the UK. She can now get on with life in the UK. The last few weeks have seen the whole family in limbo; not able to get on with anything. Now she can apply for a national insurance number, apply for further education courses, etc.; in other words - get on with life.
I appreciate that the new stringent regulations are to protect the country from 'undesirables', but the vast majority of applicants, particularly those asking for spouse visas, are not exactly high risk. You and I can see this, why can't the immigration authorities?