Hello and welcome to another boring website. My name is Rob (Robert) O’Connor and I’m using this as a collection space for thoughts and musings on projects (i.e. dumping ground). I live in Waterford (Ireland) with my wife and children. There’s a few aspects to my professional life, so in no particular order of merit or preference …
My main job is working as a lecturer in the Department of Computing & Mathematics at the South East Technological University (SETU). At present, I teach computer science and programming at undergraduate levels. In the past, I’ve also specialised in media tools with a special emphasis on audio production. I’m the Programme Leader for the BSc (Hons) in Applied Computing, which might sound fancy, but in all honesty that means a large part of my working day involves editing spreadsheets and solving problems.
I’m heavily involved in academic podcasting at SETU. I host The Machine, a computer science education podcast and 9Plus, a series that looks at researcher across the Institute. I produce and work with the hosts of other podcasts at WIT including The Nerve, WinWin, Viking Sport and Student Life & Learning. The guiding principle behind all of these is to present potentially dense topics in an accessible format. Sometimes, it’s easier to listen to a 30 minute conversation than read through a long PDF.
Music has always played a huge part of my life and I would says strongly defines my identity. Even though I haven’t gigged in while (last seen with a guitar in Whelans in March 2020!), I have written, recorded and released music under my own name and with the bands Acrojunk (now defunct) and Fighting Spiders (COVID killed my involvement with that band ☹️). I have a heap of unreleased material written and am always threatening to unleash a solo album (because the world needs another 40-something man telling you his thoughts through song.) I also work as a musician with some theatre groups, most notably Waterford Spraoi. Back in the deep mists of time, I used to DJ in some local clubs and pubs, which brings me onto the final part of my professional life.
For 17 years, I presented Irish Beats on Beat 102-103, a radio show that focus on the contemporary Irish music scene. There’s a huge amount of brilliant material released by Irish artists every month, most of which doesn’t get much recognition. Airtime is finite resource, but I always did my best to play as much high quality music to as large an audience as possible. If one listener a week discovered a new act, then I considered it a successful show. Due to time pressures, I finished up on the radio in March 2023. Irish Beats continues with a new host and is broadcast every Sunday from 8-10pm every Sunday on Beat 102-103.
I’ve been posting shows to my personal MixCloud profile. BTW I’m not some sort of xenophobic music nationalist! I listen to a wide variety of music from all over the world, but on the radio I focus on homegrown sounds.
Besides all that, I volunteer at my local Coder Dojo. I like to run and keep relatively fit. I regularly complete 5 and 10k distances and have done a few half-marathons in my time. I’ve never run a full marathon though and don’t think I want to either! I’m *love* food and am happiest at weekends cooking up a storm in the kitchen, listening to records and getting lost in my own head. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and playing video-games, especially those of the science fiction & fantasy variety.
I’ve been threatening to do a PhD for years and am thinking of ploughing the podcasting work into a doctorate, as it ties together many aspects of my professional life. We’ll see how that goes ….
I am interested in research opportunities around podcasting, especially from an academic or outreach perspective. I’m contactable at email@example.com for SETU-related matters. I also have my DMs open on Twitter for everything else @roboconnor_irl