Alan Mills jumps in

Dr Alan Mills (
Mon, 8 Jan 1996 13:26:41 +0000 (GMT)

Hi there everyone. & a Happy New Year.

My name is Alan Mills - together with Peter Murray-Rust, we ran last
year's PPS, a brave new experiment in distance education.

This year I'm going to be participating as a consultant, and hoped to be
moderately involved, but I'm also setting up a new business so can't make
too many promises, seeing that I'm now only Honorary at Birkbeck, as opposed
to grant-funded through last year.

Hello again and thanks to all those who involved themselves so
enthusiastically last time round, and helped out in their various ways.

I must include amongst the acknowledgements my colleague John Walshaw who
authored a good wodge of the material during last summer. John now has
the job I was doing last year, and will carry much of the burden of course
administration and coordination this time round. He is supported by Jacky
Turner, Jody McGill and Dave Houldershaw here at Birkbeck, with our
Departmental Head David Moss lurking in the background. They're going to
find out that it can also be fun, and a great learning experience, and
hopefully it wont be quite such hard work now that much of the material is
in place, and we know much better how to operate in cyberspace.

We also hope and expect that Peter Murray-Rust will find time from his
many responsibilities, activities and projects to put in an appearance every
now and then. It was his enthusiasm, commitment and vision that were
largely responsible for the PPS course in the first place.

And not forgetting a hearty welcome to all the new people who've jumped in.
Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Many of you are, I'm sure, v.busy people, attending to more important
worky type things. You will find that although you have to commit a
little time to involve yourself in this course, it will be well repaid
by what you will learn, and the surprises that crop up. So, be bold, and
have fun too.

On Sat, 6 Jan 1996, son of pps wrote:
> After the silence over the Seasonal break, heres an update of whats been

Yes, let's get a bit of traffic going, now that the world of work hits us
hard in the face.

> going on and whats about to happen.

Many developments of web-technology in the last 12 months, and an
_explosion_ of related materials and resources. You lucky people have
many delights in store :-)

> As in last years course, Gail Schuman of Brookhaven has kindly provided a list
> of course participants, to which you may add your own details using a web
> form, if you wish. Its at

Well done Gail! I'll add my details soon.

> The course "Hypertree" is growing ( )
> -as things progress, check the Noticeboard to see whats new.

I feel that it would be very valuable if consultants and tutors would
take some time out *early on* to familiarise themselves with the overall
structure and some of the detail of ther course material for the first
two terms. Check out the syllabus at

and last year's material at

> We had been thinking of a group size of 6 or 7 students, but this may have to
> increase if we do get a lot of late enrolments.

Last year with 250 people involved, PMR & I thought that 20 groups of
abot 12 people was about right, but with the dropout rate we experienced,
some of the smaller groups fell below critical mass. I suggest that this
time the groups could be fewer, with at least 15 people in each. We
expect a lower dropout this time, too.

> If enough of you are interested, we would like to hold a meeting of consultants
> in the BIOMOO, within the next 2 or 3 weeks; ideally during the first week
> proper of the course (15th-19th January)- please could we have your feedback
> about this.

It takes a little while to learn how to operate in a MOO, and I suggest
consultants try soon or earlier. They should be encouraged to download
suitable MOO clients for their platform, if JohnW or DaveH will put up the
software for us to grab. For those of us that spend much of our working
day logged on at a workstation or terminal, we can leave ourselves logged
into BioMOO and just "hang out" with our virtual presence lurking in the
PPS classroom or somewhere connected through a window on our desktop. We
can then be paged by other MOO visitors.

> A reminder to subscribe to the other (currently 4) discussion lists, if you
> have not already done so; of course you may only wish to subscribe to those
> lists of particular interest to you, but we would encourage you to subscribe
> to pps96-general. (See ).

remember too, the consultants list is also hyper-archived, at

Alan Mills
Venus Internet Ltd
Tel:0171 631 6810 Fax:0171 924 1266