Open Access Teaching: the ‘Roddy’s Courses’ blog 12 months on ….

Now’s a good time to cast a quick look back over the past twelve months as I’ve used the blog to teach my First Year courses in Sweden (2012 and 2013) and South Africa (2013).  You can see from the statistics that there have been lots of visits (I’m sure some of them are return visits) and, not surprisingly, most of them come from Sweden where the course has been taught twice and South Africa where it has been taught once.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 3.34.35 PMThe total today (since August 2012) is 3381.  So something like 2500 visits since I posted about using the blog in this way in October 2012.  Quite a few of the USA visits are from search engines but then there’s a long tail of visitors from right around the world.

From my viewpoint this is a nice way to make material easily available to anyone who wants to access it – whether they are taking the courses or not.  It’s also easier and quicker to upload into the blog once than into the two different web based learning platforms (Moodle at Rhodes and DisCo at Högskolan Väst).  Perhaps most important is the fact that comments from students taking the classes have all been very positive so far.  Here’s a screenshot of the ClustrMap showing where visits have come from.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 3.59.32 PM

Night photos around the fire pit: Hogsback

Last weekend we escaped to Hogsback.  The temperatures had built up all week long to 39 degrees so we were happy to go and stay at Helen’s place high in the mountains.  On Saturday night we came back from a cooling swim in the dam in time for a braai. I have been trying to get a good set of night pictures for a while now and had a couple of ideas to try out.  So I left the others to do the cooking and got busy with my camera.  Weather conditions were really changeable with clear skies and stars and then the wind picked up as a night storm came rumbling past.

The evening started with Luke and Helen collecting wood and preparing the fire.
01 Preparing the fire pit

When the coals in the main fire pit could be raked aside for cooking Steve and Kate got busy with the chicken, potatoes and boerewors 

02 Steve and Kate get started

03 Hot coals

04 Food ready

I asked Kate to give the fire a stir so I could capture the sparks flying (and dying) in the wind.

05 Stirring the embers

A storm was clearly approaching but I had time to get Helen to join me on the stoep beneath the starry night sky.  This is a picture I have always wanted to capture. 

06 Helen and Roddy on the stoep

Once the storm came there was lightning silhouetting the clouds behind the house as the wind picked up and sprayed sparks all over me.  The pictures are dramatic with trails like tracer fire and also my head torch bobbing and weaving in the last picture. The sparks died quickly on the green vegetation all around that was very sappy from the recent rains.

07 Storm approaches

08 Flying sparks

09 Finale

There was no rain with the storm …. but a very tasty supper and malt whisky to appreciate before we doused the fire and headed off to bed.