Thursday, 4 June 2009


I missed the excitement in the office just before lunch when a thief walked in and stole a lecturer's laptop - was so cool he even said 'hello' to the victim, then walked out of the office. Victim realised laptop was missing and shouted after the man, who hastened his exit, scarpered down the stairs, out the door and made his getaway on his bicycle parked right by the door.

Why had no one questioned a stranger in the office?

We used to have a secretary who knew everybody and would accost a stranger to ask if he needed help. Super secretary had built up relationships with lots of people on the campus, but that super secretary isn't with us any more. We have a part time temp who knows few people in our building. Is this another example of the potential value of social capital that a long lasting secretary could bring?


Berkun said...

Was the lecturer giving a lecture when it happened?

Either way, it's a good story and could go on this list I'm putting together:

eLiz said...

Sorry, Berkun, the lecturer wasn't giving a lecture. It's quite rare for Open University lecturers to lecture face to face because almost all the 150,000 students are distance learners. Consequently, teams of lecturers write units of material (around 14 units for each 30 points worth of credits). The students study these where ever and when ever they can, within a calendar that constrains the course to around nine months. Students submit assignments at regular intervals to associate lecturers (tutors) who mark the assignments, provide F2F or electronic tutorials, answer email and phone queries.

The full time academic staff, who write the course units, like the victim of this thief sometimes work here in the office, sometimes at home. That day he chose to come into the office. He lost a lot of work. It was indeed a disaster for him.