The future is… – Weeknote #83 – 2nd October 2020

Over the weekend there was a huge amount of anti-university press in relation to Covid-19. I did think last week that this was just the beginning, when I posted my blog post about the uncertainty that the higher education sector was facing, when I noted a few stories about social distancing and isolation that was being reported in the press. I didn’t think that the story would blow up so soon! So much so that I wrote another blog post about all the stories that were coming in.

Radio 4’s Today programme made the mistake of thinking online was somehow cheaper and inferior.

Wonkhe went into more detail about what is happening at universities right now, and why?

What is going on? If you’ve not been following what has been going over the summer, or you are bewildered as to why we are in this situation, David Kernohan takes you through the basics.

Over the week even more stories came in, such as this one Coventry University student flats partygoers flout rules.

This perspective of what was happening to students was an insightful read, to be failed and abandoned time and time again, at first by an algorithm, then by institutions is draining and hurtful, writes student Kimi Chaddah.

Imagine having overcome a reformed and rigid GCSE system. Next, your A-levels are cancelled and you have to forcibly fight your way to a university place. Then, you’re forced into social isolation in a new place with people you don’t know, all the while being told to “not kill granny” by a man who discharged hospital patients into care homes. Meet the students of 2020.

The anti-student sentiment continued, so much so, that Johnson in his Wednesday press conference actually was quite sympathetic towards the student situation.

What we do know is that virtually all students are attempting to stick to the rules, but it doesn’t require very many students to be infected to infect many more in halls and residences. They are using the same kitchens, the same hallways, the same doors. They are in the same shops, the same bars and coffee places and visiting the same places across campus.

Spent a fair amount of the week using a tool called Dovetail to analyse some survey data we had. One thing which did surprise me, was how many people still think learning styles is a thing!

On Tuesday I had a meeting about digital pedagogy and I think I even surprised myself by how much work in this area I and others at Jisc had done in this space.

The future I was told about as a child is finally arriving…. Jet suit paramedic tested in the Lake District ‘could save lives’.

Ten years ago this week I was at FOTE 10 talking about books and iPads.

“Books are indeed wonderful things, but still, the iPad is the future of reading…”

I reflected on this presentation and how our attitudes to ebooks has changed in the last ten years in this blog post, Is the iPad still the future of reading?

Eleven years ago this week I was at FOTE 09 talking about the future of learning. Little did I know the impact that this presentation would have on me, my future career and education in general. I felt a little intimidated to be invited to talk at the event, we wouldn’t have called it imposter syndrome back then, but I did wonder if I was the right person to talk at such an interesting conference.

A year ago I wrote these thoughts on what had changed in the ten years since I gave that talk

So did I predict the future?


In the last year so much has changed. So what now, is the future of learning?

Thursday I was on a panel webinar looking at the Jisc teaching staff survey and attitudes to digital. It was difficult I felt to analyse the data effectively as some had been collected pre-lockdown and some post-lockdown. That switch to emergency remote delivery in March, combined with the personal and social implications of lockdown must have impacted on how staff in universities thought about digital – how many more zoom meetings must I attend!!!

Another issue which bubbled back to the surface from both the panel session and the analysis of survey data was the issue of time, and I reflected back on the piece I wrote back in December 2015 about why I don’t have a dog.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Leave a Reply