Archive for October 3, 2020

Week Ending

Posted in Biographical, Covid-19, Maynooth on October 3, 2020 by telescoper

It’s the Saturday after a very tough week. At least I’ve got an excuse for lounging about at home because I’m waiting for a new bed to be delivered. Since I moved into my new house I’ve been sleeping in a single bed, in what will be the spare room, but when the bigger bed arrives I’ll be able to move into the main bedroom.

Last week was a tough one at work. Switching teaching online at short notice was only part of it. The building work that started late still isn’t finished so I’ve got more disruption from that to look forward to when I return to the Department on Monday.

I did at least get through the first week of online teaching. The newly installed Panopto system (which we used when I was in Cardiff) works very well, although the cameras are a bit limited. This system can webcast a lecture as well as recording it to be viewed later. I always assumed most students would watch the lectures after the event but as it turned out a majority actually viewed them live.

The sudden switch to online teaching was designed to restrict the number of students travelling to and from the University but nobody seems to have thought very much about those actually living on campus. In the case of Maynooth University that includes a sizeable fraction of first-year students whose first experience of university life is much poorer than in a normal year. I feel very sorry for this cohort but I suppose circumstances made this inevitable.

The official University line, as explained in an email (inevitably) sent out to Department Heads on Friday evening), is that teaching will be online at least until Study Week ( the week beginning 26th October). I think it’s overwhelmingly probable that we teach like this for the entire semester and there is a good chance that it will be the entire academic year. I think it would benefit us all, staff and students, if this decision were made now. There is no end in sight to Covid-19 and there is no point in pretending otherwise.

Update: the bed arrived this afternoon. It required “some self assembly”: though not on the scale of IKEA furniture that was quite hard work because the frame parts are very heavy. It’s done now though and I’m looking forward to sleeping in it tonight.