Spring Return

After a few days off last week following the Easter Bank Holiday weekend it’s time to get back into the swing of things for the four weeks of teaching term that remain. It’s back to school today for all school students in Ireland too, so good luck to them on their first day in the classroom since Christmas!

As well as (remote) lectures the next four weeks will involve us getting our papers ready for the examination period which starts on 14th May this year. All our examinations will be remote online timed assessments (as indeed they were last year). I’ve been teaching three modules this Semester so have no fewer than six examinations to write: three main exams plus three repeat papers for the resit period in August. The decision has already been made to make all the repeat exams online so at least these will be of similar style to the original May versions.

Then it will be marking and Exam Boards and various other things heading into the summer break. Hopefully I will get some holiday this summer as I didn’t get any at all last year. On the other hand there’s a strong likelihood that Senior Management will think of something else for Heads of Department to do that will make this impossible.

What happens at the end of summer all depends on Covid-19 of course, and specifically how Ireland’s vaccination programme goes. My personal opinion is that we should continue with remote teaching until all staff and students have had their jabs, which is unlikely to be the case before September at the current rate, but you never know. The speed of vaccination shows signs of increasing though, so we might be able to do it.

Despite the more rapid progress with immunisation over the other side of the Irish Sea, UK university bosses are apparently complaining that they haven’t got a date for returning to campus. This surprises me as they run on roughly the same calendar as here in Ireland so there are only a few weeks of teaching left there too. Why bother to go back at such a late stage? Unless of course it’s so they can charge students for a full term’s accommodation…

 

2 Responses to “Spring Return”

  1. I must say I’m quite pleased to be back. Much as I have grown to enjoy hill-walking, there are only so many times one can walk up and down to the three rock montain here in Dublin. And if I get on that blasted bicycle one more time…

  2. We were hoping to get the students back so they could get some hands-on practicals in before the end of the academic year, rather than for any more cynical reason — however, no dice. I can’t say I think this is the wrong outcome, as many of the staff are not vaccinated and almost none of the students are of course, but it would be good if UK government thought the sector was important enough to make the position clear… I understand that a bunch of other UK universities have just decided to go ahead and let the students back even though the guidance hasn’t changed.

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