Long long ago I used to visit Liverpool regularly.
This was a consortium of universities (including Oxford, Southampton, Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester - and the OU - and others I’ve probably overlooked) developing computer-based resources to support undergraduate materials science teaching, and we all used to troop up to Liverpool on a regular basis for progress meetings.
This was so long ago that we used to think it was pretty cool to string AppleTalk cables from table to table on the train so that we could move files between Apple Powerbook Duos.
This week I got an invitation to go back to Liverpool for the first MoodleRooms Teaching and Learning Forum, being run as part of the bigger Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference.
Sitting in my hotel room I was reflecting on how far things had evolved since the days of the MATTER project (actually about 20 years ago). The learning materials were built using Asymetrix Toolbook and shipped on a CD-ROM (which supported Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Mac System 7). And there was never any suggestion that students might want to collaborate with each other, although we did provide plenty of self-assessment questions. A glimpse of the facilities offered by Moodle today (other learning management systems are available) would have provoked profound shock, and questions like "will it run on 486 processor?"
Other things that have changed in Liverpool over the last 20 years too, specifically the Docks area of the city and apparently the weather.
In the mid-90s I clearly recall walking on numerous occasions between station and University and it was always either sleeting or raining. This time Liverpool offered cloudless blue skies.
In the mid-90s I never even contemplated venturing down to the Docks. This time I did, and there are some photographs to prove it.
Amazing how things change in 20 years.