Culturally sound – Weeknote #80 – 11th September 2020

I started the week working through what I needed to do, and adding them as tasks to my JIRA boards. I had moved away from JIRA for task setting, as I was mainly working within Teams, but started to feel as my work widened that I needed some way of keeping up to date with what needed to be done. I use a combination of JIRA, Confluence and now Teams to ensure stuff that needs to be done gets done.

At the start of this week I was reading Sally Brown’s Wonkhe article on the start of term, The first weeks may be critical for the 2020 cohort.

First year students at UK universities will be imminently beginning some kind of an on-campus experience this year. It will be unlike anything they, or staff working in HEI,s have ever experienced.

I was reminded of my post on community I wrote last month on how community will be difficult to build in bubbles and on hybrid courses.

With an online or hybrid programme of study, much of the building and developing of community is lost. There is no informal way to have a coffee and a chat before an online lecture in the same way that happens before a lecture in a physical space.

Did some internal work on our culture programme ready for an internal workshop I am participating in next week. I’ve always thought describing the culture is part of the challenge, and a shared understanding of those descriptions. Also then following up with more detailed expectations of the ways in which staff work and how the organisation will support this.

I remember in a previous culture and behaviours session I asked about the following statement which describes demonstrating a behaviour based on trust.

I keep people informed

I think one of the challenges with culture change, first what does this mean and importantly what does it look like? One person’s keeping people informed is very likely not going to be the same as someone else’s perspective. So should we describe what this looks like so that staff are aware of expectations about keeping people informed. Also what support will the organisation need to provide to enable this, to make it happen and importantly keeping it happening?

Culture change is challenging, but it needn’t be slow.

So there I was digging through some archives across various websites looking mainly old photographs when I came across this photograph of me on the Cambridge News website.

I wrote a blog post about the photograph.

Found out this week that my phone landline wasn’t working. I couldn’t make or receive calls and there was no dialling tone. The thing is I have no idea how long it has been like this, the fact that the internet is still working, means I wasn’t suspicious something was amiss. It’s all fixed now.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

With the local lockdowns in the North West, University students have been warned about going out and socialising when term starts.

Students at universities across Greater Manchester are being warned they will face sanctions if they break rules to limit the spread of coronavirus.

I think we will see similar announcements if there are further local lockdown measures taken in other parts of the country.

The government published their guidance for Higher Education on reopening buildings and campuses.

This guidance builds on the existing guidance for reopening higher education (HE) campuses, and may be updated further in line with developing scientific evidence.

The latest update includes:

  • further advice on reopening university buildings
  • guidance on the importance of good ventilation
  • guidance on when and where face coverings may be required
  • updates on social gatherings relevant to higher education
  • additional advice on the performing arts
  • additional advice on student accommodation
  • advice on local outbreaks, including student movement
  • advice on NHS Test and Trace

This was also reported in the news and press with headlines such as this from the BBC no student parties and more online learning.

Universities should switch to full online learning only as a last resort in the event of a local coronavirus outbreak, new guidance says. The hundreds of thousands of students due to arrive at England’s universities in the coming weeks also face a ban on house parties under the “rule of six”. Students must limit socialising, staying within separate “households”, and be taught in managed groups.

The Guardian published a similar article, new Covid plan for England could confine university students to halls.

University students in England could be confined to their halls of residence and barred from going to their family homes in the event of local coronavirus outbreaks.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I have been working on a series of guides this week that arise from the Learning and Teaching Reimagined programme here at Jisc. They cover blended learning, teaching, learning, assessment and other parts of the student experience.

I also put together a strategy discussion session for a meeting in a couple of weeks, complete with session plan, slides and handouts.

We are pretty close to confirming the theme for Data Matters 2021, which will be published soon. Have been organising programme meetings for the event with colleagues from HESA and QAA.

I have also been thinking about meetings and meetings culture this week as well, partly as two meetings I had in my diary were cancelled at the last minute, which I personally find very frustrating and annoying.

Image by Robert Lischka from Pixabay

I published another blog post in my Lost in Translation series on recordings.

The pause button looks at recording lectures and how this can be transformed in a hybrid or blended learning programme.

There is a school of thought which says that listening to a live lecture is not the same thing as watching a recording of a lecture and as a result that rather than record a 60 minute lecture, you should break it down into three 20 minute or four 15 minute recordings. This will make it better for the students.

I was quoted and published in an Education Technology roundtable this week.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused huge disruption to education. So, how are schools and colleges using tech to recover – and to prepare for the uncertainty ahead? Steve Wright asks the experts.

There are tools and platforms out there that can enable effective blended learning but, as with all tools, it’s not the technology that is important, but rather how it is used. Effective technology use is about more than simply knowing which buttons to press or links to click; it’s about designing effective learning experiences.

My top tweet this week was this one.

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