Personal Background

Wolfgang portraitI am originally from Vienna. It therefore is embarrassing for me to admit that I cannot waltz! However, I love to listen to music of all kinds. After a most enjoyable time in a Viennese school near the Prater, I studied Linguistics at the University of Vienna. My studies were interrupted by some longer working breaks and a scholarship by the Austrian Government to study abroad. So I moved to Wales in 1987 and began studying at the University of Aberystwyth and the National Library of Wales. In 1991, I finished my MA with distinction!

After this enormous success, living in Wales helped my specialisation in indigenous and minority languages, which eventually led to a PhD of the University of Wales in 1995. map of Scotland

As a linguist, I often get asked how many languages I speak. Although I have studied around 23 languages in depth, I have difficulties answering this question, since one never speaks all languages to the same level and lack of use decreases competency. The languages I learned also included a number of dead languages like Latin or Gaulish.

The other thing that puzzles people is how a historical linguist who graduated in Indo-European comparative linguistics with no prospects of ever finding employment made a rather successful career in technology-enhanced learning. Well, it was precisely the non-prospect of finding a job in one of the few remaining university departments for Indo-European Studies that made me flexible and search for other engagements. Early on, I recognised the enormous potential that computer technology held in stock for teaching and learning and started using it with my own students - at the time this even meant programming in MSDos and Basic by hand.

So, over the years, I slowly drifted from teaching languages at university level to applying ICT in education, until a major opportunity arose with a job as Cisco Senior Research Fellow in Network Learning.

This brought me to Stornoway and the Isle of Lewis where I lived for a couple of most enjoyable years and became a naturalised Scot. It is absolutely fabulous to live on this remote island where people are friendly and life is beautiful.

Despite a permanent contract and my love for the Highlands and Islands, I decided to move back to the continent and closer to my family, as it was very difficult to maintain proper contact from the remote islands. I moved to Klagenfurt, in the South of Austria close to the Italian and Slovenian borders. It's a lovely place with fine weather, mountains, snow and a  crystal-clear lake. Quite idyllic and so much more suited for outdoor activities like skiing, mountain hiking, swimming in the lake, or biking - all things I love to do but could not do in Lewis.

Then I received an offer to work for the Open University of the Netherlands, and I took it. Again I moved places, but remained faithful to living in the country. The Netherlands are a very crowded place if you compare it to Austria or Scotland. I found a nice little place for myself in a little village and got on the bike - like everyone else in NL. The first thing I learned was that the South of the Netherlands is not as flat as rumour has it. My village is actually on the top of a hill at the end of a steep climb. It took some time until I managed to bike up without too much problems. Biking keeps you fit, and that is a good motivator for continuing to do it.

A tempting offer arose in late 2013 to fill the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Quality at the Vienna University of Education and to build up research and quality structures. This brought me back to Vienna after decades abroad. Vienna is a city with extremely high quality of life. Lots of nice events and culture invite me to enjoy life beyond the office, but I mainly prefer to take a trip to the Vienna Woods and the nearby mountains.

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