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Chief Executive’s Report
by Seb Schmoller

Responding to the cuts

I warned in the last issue of the ALT Update and Online Newsletter that we’d be naïve to assume that ALT would be untouched by the public spending cuts announced by the coalition government. ALT’s Trustees met at the end of October and decided to reduce spending on staffing by between 20 and 25% from the February 2011 to January 2012 financial year, whilst keeping other costs under tight control. This steep reduction has been achieved by voluntary means, and without ALT incurring any severance costs. Inevitably the restructured staff team, already quite “lean”, and now with total direct employment costs of less than £150k per year, will be stretched by these changes, especially when we are aiming to increase our impact and the range of our activities. We will make every effort to keep the direct impact on members to a minimum.

Our journal – Research in Learning Technology

From January 2011 ALT’s journal has the new name Research in Learning Technology, The Journal of the Association for Learning Technology; but other much more important changes are afoot. Following last year’s reprocurement process, and with the support of ALT’s Research Committee and of the journal’s Editorial Board, I am happy to report that from January 2012 our journal will be fully Open Access, produced in partnership with the Swedish publisher Co-Action Publishing. We are about to complete negotiations on the new publishing agreement with Co-Action, and once finalised the process of transfer of the journal from the current publisher to Co-Action will then begin, taking final effect at the end of 2011.

This change represents a major development for ALT. One effect will be that the contents of Research in Learning Technology will be much more accessible to people world-wide than at present. Another will be much better integration between the journal and the ALT conference. A third is likely to be a modest reduction in the annual costs of organisational membership of ALT, from February 2012.

Staffing changes

Our administrators Mel Fox and Naomi Courtenay have resigned to take up new jobs elsewhere. We wish them both well, and we will shortly be filling a vacancy. Emma Carr- Jones (Finance Manager) and Louise Ryan (Publications Manager) will be on maternity leave from April and March until early in 2012.

Consultation response

Since the last issue of the ALT Update, we have submitted the following:

  1. How might learning technology impact on the modern delivery of learning in Scotland A report prepared at the request of Michael Russell, Scottish Cabinet Secretary.
  2. Technology in learning, an ALT and Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme response to some questions for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills.
  3. A joint ALT and Association of Colleges response to the Royal Society’s call for evidence about the teaching of computing in schools.
  4. A response to the review of JISC for the funding bodies by Sir Alan Wilson.
  5. A response to a call from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for evidence for the Digital and Creative Industries Growth Review .
  6. A response to the Higher Education Academy's Consultation on the UK Professional Standards Framework for Higher Education.

Seb Schmoller, 19 January 2011

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