Million to one chances – Weeknote #48 – 7th February 2020

St James's Park
St James’s Park

Monday I was off to London once more for various meetings including my mid-year review. These weeknotes were an useful tool to recall what I have been doing and what I had done, especially for those things outside my core objectives.

Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash
Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

This was an intriguing story about how you could “fake” traffic jams merely by walking down a street (with a hundred mobile phones in a cart).

Artist Simon Weckert walked the streets of Berlin tugging a red wagon behind him. Wherever he went, Google Maps showed a congested traffic jam. People using Google Maps would see a thick red line indicating congestion on the road, even when there was no traffic at all. Each and every one of those 99 phones had Google Maps open, giving the virtual illusion that the roads were jam packed.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

An article by me was published online, having been in print first – New vision in a time of great promise: James Clay explores the impact of Education 4.0 and Industry 4.0 on the copyright and licensing sector on cla.co.uk

As we approach 2020, there is little doubt that digital technology is core to the UK’s Higher Education (HE) sector. It enhances teaching and learning and has the potential to create efficiencies across all aspects of the student experience, supporting staff in delivering excellence. As the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) continues to influence education and research, there will be implications for copyright and licensing too.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

With the coronavirus spreading across the world, some educational establishments, epscially those with close ties to China are starting to plan what they need to do if (or when) the spready of the virus reaches a critical stage.

I am reminded of what happened with swine flu and ‘foot and mouth’, as well as the usual winter problems of snow and ice in the UK.

I remember presenting and writing back then about the challenges of campus closures due to the snow and ice, but did mention that there were other things that could cause similar challenges to educational establishments, which have included volcano eruptions impacting on flights to possible virus epidemics (or even pandemics).

Ten years ago I wrote this blog post about the impact of snow.

Snow

If all staff and learners were familiar with the technologies then snow closures wouldn’t be such an issue. However if the snow in February 2009 and again in January 2010 has shown anything, it has shown that there is there still a long way to go before educational institutions really are making best use of the internet and digital technologies to enhance and enrich learning.

I followed this up with a blog post about a discussion we were going to have at the Plymouth e-learning conference.

“million-to-one chances happen nine times out of ten”

Even if it doesn’t snow really badly next year, other things may happen that result in the physical closure of the educational institution. It could be floods, high winds (remember 1987), flu or similar viral infections, transport strikes, fuel crisis, anything…

I made the point that

Changing the culture is going to take time, having access to the right tools can help, but attitude towards those tools is just as important. Culturally we have some way to go I think before snow or any other “disaster” only closes the physical location and doesn’t close the institution.

Here we are ten years later, will we see the closure of universities and colleges as a result of the coronavirus or are we in a better position to use digital technologies to ensure that learning and teaching can continue despite quarantines, closure and loss of staff time through sickness or looking after family members. Will the VLE cope? What about the use of online and digital resources, even lecture capture?

At the time of writing it’s still early days for the coronavirus, but that hasn’t stopped The University of Sydney from starting to think about the challenges.

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay
Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

I have spent a fair amount of time working on the programme for the Data Matters 2020 conference and it’s really starting to come together and looks like it will be a great event. It’s taking place on the 5thMay in London.

My top tweet this week was this one.

 

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