From Merlin John's Blog | Anglia Ruskin ultra-sensitive about Ultralab?

A curmudgeonly and quite frankly ridiculous letter from Steve Bennett of Anglia Ruskin University sent to Merlin John speaks volumes:^)

Steve Bennett Letter

“On Wednesday 29 August 2007 – 13:29:48 | by Merlin John
Anglia Ruskin University wants you to know that its Ultralab learning technology research unit has not closed, and that any inaccurate reference to its possible closure is commercially damaging. In fact it has threatened this site with legal action if it so much as mentions the word Ultralab which, it says, is a brand that is owned by the university. That’s what it says in a letter received this week, a scan of which is available in this site’s Download section.

The word Ultralab still has a ring, a cachet worth protecting, even if many of the people who helped build its reputation disappeared in the restructuring that took place in 2006. Merlin John Online is, as always, committed to accuracy and prepared to make corrections if required. However, this option was not suggested or requested before we received a blanket legal threat that we must never use the word Ultralab. Frankly, this feels like bullying. It also means deleting references to the brilliant Ultraversity project, created and run by Ultralab, which has brought new meaning to the term “lifelong learning”.

Come on Anglia Ruskin University, get your legal tank off our virtual lawn and let us know your good news about Ultralab so that it can be shared high and low.”

9 thoughts on “From Merlin John's Blog | Anglia Ruskin ultra-sensitive about Ultralab?

  1. Gina

    For goodness sake, hasn’t this Bennett fellow got anything better to do?? He makes himself look rather ridiculous – is Anglia Ruskin going to trawl the likes of utube bebo and myspace as well as the whole of blogland as well so none of us ever talk about Ultralab??? Thanks Stephen for making me laugh on a NZ Friday morning! 🙂

  2. Rex

    This is rather astonishing. Legal threats have been made without even bothering to check facts within the University.

    If Ultralab hasn’t been closed, then why have just four remaining members of Ultralab staff been retained for new jobs in the University’s Learning and Teaching Unit, which has elected NOT to continue the use of the Ultralab name and has instead rebranded itself under the name Inspire?

    Ultralab as it was simply does not exist anymore within Anglia Ruskin University.

  3. Annie

    How strange! Ultralab was definitely closed in December 2006 as far as all who worked in it know. I don’t understand how it can be considered not closed. I am sorry to have to use a pseudonym, but I don’t need Anglia Ruskin University to bully me into saying otherwise. Should we do a Dead Parrot sketch?

    The brand “Ultraversity” might draw similar threats from Anglia Ruskin, and it has already been suggested that a different name is used. Perhaps it would be safest to stick to using individual names as I don’t think the university can object to those – I’m very happy to have worked with Stephen Powell in developing the astonishing online undergraduate work-based research degree formerly known as Ultraversity, in the department formerly known as Ultralab.


  4. Larrie

    This is astonishing. There are plenty of other blogs with both Anglia Ruskin and Ultralab cited regularly. This letter simply shows the HEI’s ignorance of matters online – why else would they have disbanded Ultralab. If multinationals can’t control what is said about them online then Anglia Ruskin, thankfully, has no chance of imposing this ridiculous and petty censorship.
    I agree with Annie – the lab is a gone, they themselves killed it off – Anglia Ruskin are clearly very deluded!

  5. kermit

    wow, entirely silly! folks across the university find the lab’s silent departure a riddle still. other than referencing past work and the lab’s legacy, how can the university possibly use the lab’s name today with any credibility? anyway – the lab lives on in all of us who had the privilege of working together on some significant and innovative projects.

  6. Anonymous

    Ultralab was a collection of people who could be relied on to be leading edge in ICT and were used as national advisers for that reason. These people have left haven’t they?

  7. Robert Hart

    I used to associate the Ultralab brand with a track record of wonderful pioneering research work under the inspired leadership of Stephen Heppell and Richard Millwood, that helped change the way we think about learning in Britain and around the world. Thanks to this recent sillyness, I now associate it with churlish, petty, controlling behaviour. More… on Rambling Rob’s Blog


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