After a lovely weekend (well Sunday) in Lynmouth it was back to work on Monday. Well back to the desk in my house. The office, not so much.
The coronavirus figures have started to creep back up, so we’ve been put into a new lockdown of sorts. Schools are remaining open, but people are been asked to work from home.
Met with my sector strategy colleagues on Tuesday and gave us a chance to catch up and chat about what we’ve been up to and what’s coming up.
Spent time working on a structure for the Data Matters 2021 conference. This conference is usually a physical face to face event, however, as might be expected with coronavirus, this time we will be running it as an online conference. This now only throws up some challenges, but also provides a range of opportunities. In addition to the structure I have been working on the types of sessions that could be run. As well as traditional sessions such as online presentations, I have been thinking about different kinds of synchronous and asynchronous sessions. I’ve also been wondering about pre and post conference sessions as well.
One of my favourite tech stories of the week was this one from the BBC News about how switching on an old TV caused the broadband of a village in Wales to fail, every morning at 7am without fail.
This blog post from the LSE was useful and interesting.
The transition to online, asynchronous learning poses just as many challenges for students entering the online classroom as it does for academics mastering the platform. Cynthia Wheatley Glenn outlines what to look out for to spot students who might be struggling and key strategies for assisting students in overcoming barriers to successful participation in online learning communities.
This tweet resonated with me and others.
A student unmutes a mic & drowns Zoom class in a sonic wave of siblings, TV, & traffic/machinery. This is a moment for empathy. Students can't mute their lives.@anthonyocampo @BryanAlexander @CathyNDavidson @OnlineCrsLady @laura_ritchie @mcleod @scottmpetri @heymrsbond
— David Preston (@prestonlearning) September 22, 2020
Over the last few weeks I have been working on some documents relating to the comprehensive spending review, so was a little disappointed to see that the budget has been cancelled and potentially all that work will need to be shelved. However I do understand why it was cancelled.
The uncertainty I talked about is something that is starting to impact on universities across the UK. The impact of coronavirus restrictions on the student experience is starting to surface, from the students breaching social distancing at an open air cinema at Exeter to Abertay in Dundee in Scotland where hundreds of students are being told to isolate. This must be causing challenges for universities as they respond to new restrictions and need to adapt their delivery models as a result, as well as ensuring the wellbeing of those students affected. I wrote some thoughts on this in a new blog post.
After I had published that blog post, there were many more reports of Covid-19 incidents across not just universities in Scotland but also across the rest of the UK. I think we will start to see a rise in incidents in England, as Scottish universities start earlier so English universities are a few weeks behind.
Universities Scotland published advice on stopping the spread of Covid-19 at Scottish universities.
I am also hearing that lots of universities are now thinking about moving to online.
The BBC reported that Hancock refuses to rule out Christmas student lockdown.
Matt Hancock has refused to rule out banning students from returning home at Christmas, to limit the spread of coronavirus outbreaks.
Friday had an interesting discussion about pace and meetings and was reminded of Video Arts’ Meetings training video, which originally came out in 1976, but sadly is still relevant today.
Spent quite a bit of time this week thinking, discussing, talking, reading and reflecting on leadership and strategy. Started working on some papers and other stuff in this space.
Discovered this week that some of my thoughts had been published in a QAA Guide, questions-to-inform-a-toolkit-for-enhancing-quality-in-a-digital-environment.
Thirteen years ago on the 25th September 2007 I attended the launch of MoLeNET at the Oval in London.
This was a huge influence on my life and my career. Met some amazing people and had lots of fun talking about mobile learning.
My top tweet this week was this one.
'Significant' Covid outbreak at Glasgow University sees 600 self-isolate | Education | The Guardian https://t.co/HZUyO0JYhN
— James Clay (@jamesclay) September 23, 2020