Author Topic: University Challenged  (Read 9799 times)

Alberon

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University Challenged
« on: March 16, 2020, 10:17:12 PM »
It seems everyone on this forum and their dog works at a university so this thread is for all of us. We can report on how well upper management are doing.

My uni has just decided to go to online only teaching while leaving research and admin as normal. I’m part of a small team spread around the university and one of us had a transplant years ago so has to take immune depressing medicine to survive. They really need to self-isolate right now, but (since I’m on holiday this week) I don’t know if they have been sent home.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2020, 10:41:28 PM »
We were told this morning that we would be trialling working from home on Wednesday. Had an email this evening that work from home begins tomorrow, so I have to go in and pick up a few items.

All of my team's work has been cancelled until further notice anyway so I don't think I will be doing much.

icehaven

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2020, 10:59:56 PM »
I don't work in a Uni but yesterday I was talking to someone I know who does, and she said if they have to cancel lectures for any significant length of time students are going to start asking for their fees to be refunded, and if they're successful the Uni could go bankrupt.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2020, 11:00:54 PM »
Email from my VC at 11pm telling us all not to come in tomorrow. Feels like a bit of panic starting to creep in, which is unnerving.

Puce Moment

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2020, 11:54:30 PM »
My Uni are very aware that I have chronic asthma, and I was hospitalised twice late last year, so assume it will be something of a doddle to stay at home. I'm interested in this whole 'working from home' thing from a data protection point of view, given that WE are liable for any misuse. Also, the assumption that we all have home offices with PCs or laptops we have bought with our money is a decent insight into why academics are constantly coerced into completing ghost tasks at out own expense a great deal of the time.

buttgammon

  • How thick is wall?
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2020, 11:58:34 PM »
We gradually shut down last week. First lectures were cancelled, then some departments stopped tutorials and then the whole place was closed by the government. We have an increasing number of positive cases among staff and students, and problems moving online, but I'm really glad were closed. Its It's insane that some of you in the UK are still supposed to be teaching in person.

Puce Moment

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2020, 12:00:55 AM »
I can't think of a more productive petri dish for the spread of this infection than the UK Uni system, with all of its toing and froing and romancing thousands of students into coming here to study, plus warm rooms, lack of hourly cleaning, and compressed campuses.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2020, 12:30:14 AM »
Students to start being taught online as from Monday, academics to be able to work from home, professional services staff to continue coming in to work. Thanks vice chancellor. It's nice knowing we're bottom tier.

grassbath

  • I suppose I'm glad I'm on this train
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2020, 01:14:18 AM »
I don't work in a Uni but yesterday I was talking to someone I know who does, and she said if they have to cancel lectures for any significant length of time students are going to start asking for their fees to be refunded, and if they're successful the Uni could go bankrupt.

The former is definitely true - seen a ton of petitions and stuff today, but what kind of steps would need to be taken for them to make a successful claim against a University?

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2020, 06:34:11 AM »
Lectures etc stopped and online but everything else BAU except for the risk groups. Our VC is very much a Boris of VCs.

Bit of a pain as im looking for a lecturer position at moment and ive been hearing the market will contract due to this.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2020, 07:07:39 AM »
This was doing the rounds on twitter a couple of days ago; it's a condescending email underplaying the risks of the virus from a university (Cardiff, I think) lecturer to students.


Re: University Challenged
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2020, 07:23:16 AM »
All teaching went online last week and students have left campus. Working from home is looking available if it makes sense. Car parks (we are in the centre of town) are free if you don’t want to come in on germ riddled public transport.


Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2020, 07:51:15 AM »
VC finally announced that we are to go to online teaching from next Monday -- but headed her email with THERE IS NO CORANAVIRUS ON THIS CAMPUS.

The latter is not true, of course, as they sent round an email over the weekend that someone in senior management's got it.

Campus and facilities are to remain open; lecturers are encouraged to come in and continue teaching via online means from their offices in case students still want tutorials.

Absolutely no provision is being made for how lecturers are meant to teach, how exams will be held -- usually SMT directive of laying down the law first and then scrambling around to initiate second. Some of my colleagues have already been planning -- but I got home last night to nearly 50 emails from panicking colleagues about 'How are we supposed to do this?!' and 'I don't have the internet at home!!!!' and 'I don't want to record my lectures because I'm in the union!' [by comparison, normally when I leave my office around 4pm, and arrive home at 5pm, I might have one or two emails].

You just have to add audio to your powerpoints and set up discussion in Canvas, you nitwits, not direct a West End musical.

The students are all in a panic because their assessments and teaching got so fucked up with the four weeks' strike disruption.

The most egregious thing about this whole annoucement was the VC's email: purple comic sans. Christ. Oh, and if we're teaching online/remote learning, we're expected to be available to student emails 24/7. No. I plan to treat online teaching the same way I would if I were physically on campus: set times for lecture/discussion through Canvas, tutorial through discussion options, and answering email the same way I do now: twice a day at set times, between 8 and 5pm M-F.

I still have to go in on Wednesday and Thursday, as classes are still meant to be held, but I expect more and more students to bail out as the week goes on.

Blue Jam

  • The corpuscles are corpusclin'
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2020, 08:59:09 AM »
The bigwigs here at Embra are currently in an emergency meeting and expected to tell us all to stay at home shortly. Teaching moved online a while back and I think all of the biomedical science departments have now cancelled all seminars until the end of April.

Those of us who are lab-based had been told not to plan any lengthy, time-critical or expensive experiments in case we have to abandon them midway. We've also been told to prepare to werk from home. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do here- it's not like I keep a cell culture incubator and a confocal microscope in the spare room.

I'm already self-isolating with a sore throat and a sniffle. Feeling a bit better today and positive it's not Covid-19. I had already booked some annual leave for later in the week, for a job interview at another university, which will be over Skype. I guess I won't be going back to any university for a while then.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2020, 09:11:36 AM by Blue Jam »

Blue Jam

  • The corpuscles are corpusclin'
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2020, 09:09:02 AM »
The most egregious thing about this whole annoucement was the VC's email: purple comic sans. Christ.

Ah yes, I love going to seminars on Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and traumatic brain injury and noting that the speaker has used Comic Sans for all their slides.

Being at Embra, I usually get about nine million emails a day and spend my first five minutes at werk filtering out all the chaff- departmental newsletters, bake sales, coffee mornings, the Head of Sustainability reminding us all to buy reusable coffee cups, staff surveys and all the other stuff I do not give a shit about. I used to get at least 20 of these emails a day, now they've completely dried up. I'd be glad if only the reason for this wasn't a fucking virus that is going to kill us all.

buttgammon

  • How thick is wall?
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2020, 09:30:23 AM »
The college has been totally shut down since Thursday but accommodation has stayed open. In the light of a few new cases, they're now giving the students until 5pm on Wednesday to leave unless there are serious extenuating circumstances (eg the threat of homelessness). They've had less than 48 hours notice. This really isn't on, is it?

BlodwynPig

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2020, 09:34:46 AM »
Just had my meeting - he received an e-mail during it to tell him "TO GO HOME". I asked if this was a University wide e-mail but no, just administration.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2020, 10:03:21 AM »
Shutting down today. Lecturers to remain in unless appropriate wfh agreed. Moving to online support.

My department well ahead of the curve, so starting to relax on that front.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2020, 11:10:44 AM »
Good Christ I hate my colleagues just now -- my inbox has been overstuffed all morning -- over 100 emails in about an hour, when normally on a Tuesday morning, I might have 15? total.

All freaking out about distance learning and how to add audio to PPT.,

STOP HITTING REPLY ALL, YOU DEMIFUCKWITS.

I'd hate to see these people during a real fucking crisis.

Most of it is people repeating themselves, talking at cross purposes, contributing contradictory information. No wonder the students are so confused.


Puce Moment

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2020, 12:21:34 PM »
I'm rather delighted to still be on strike for one more day, watching picket crossers frantically trying to sort stuff out that is bound to change by tomorrow morning anyway.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2020, 12:49:07 PM »
Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh is stopping all face-to-face teaching today. I don't teach there, so I'm more concerned that they still have a monument to Alex Salmond in the middle of campus (commemorating a speech he gave on free education), but hopefully if he's convicted there'll still be someone with a sledgehammer.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2020, 12:50:53 PM »
Email from the dean, one line: 'Please be ready to go to online teaching tomorrow, and not next Monday. In fact, if you can teach this afternoon's classes online, please do so. Further info from senior management coming soon.'

My first thought: Yes! I can sleep in tomorrow [my commute means invariably a 445 start in the morning.]

Blue Jam

  • The corpuscles are corpusclin'
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2020, 01:35:31 PM »
Edinburgh now sending round an email asking for volunteer research scientists to come and help with Covid-19 screening. I'd be happy to help, but can't Boris pay us? Big Society marches on.

Blue Jam

  • The corpuscles are corpusclin'
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2020, 03:35:17 PM »
Actually, I probably should do this shouldn't I?

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2020, 03:38:35 PM »
Anyone here from Manchester Uni? I have a question

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2020, 06:48:36 PM »
Today's special sauce - senior management comes back from long weekend off  ( :/ ) to request all departments fill out their forms for what we've been doing the last week. Said form is incomprehensible.

Right.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2020, 07:21:02 PM »
Anyone here from Manchester Uni?

Absolute shower of wanks - hope they all get the Vid

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2020, 07:58:30 PM »
Absolute shower of wanks - hope they all get the Vid

They are advertising 8 fellowships, 5 year tenure track beasts. I sent an informal enquiry, they asked for a bit of detail of what i would propose and then they sent me a rejection of “your application”.

What the hell? I hadnt even applied and had only sent a paragraph of informal email text. I didnt have to email, could have gone and done the full and carefully costed and planned proposal instead.

Wondered if it was a closed shop case or im just shit. Either way, fucking bastards, especially as im at deaths door (didnt tell them that)

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2020, 11:46:09 PM »
You are shit to be fair.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2020, 12:24:57 AM »
Face-to-Face teaching stopped last Friday, no-one mourning that. Email this evening that all wet labs must close by Friday, all experiments to be discarded immediately. 75 days into a 90 day experiment and it goes in the bin, non-negotiable. Dats not studying Cowonnooviwoo, dats studying a more severe and widespread disease, GET IN BIN. Fucking lunacy, seriously trying to smuggle things out to collaborator institutions that are less fuck-headed and camp out in a hotel whilst it finishes.

We had a floor-wide meeting to discuss contingency plans prior to the BIN EVERYTHING email, but we couldn't meet in one room because PLAGUE, twenty person Microsoft Teams meeting, twenty webcams, shit internet, went as well as you'd expect.

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