Author Topic: University Challenged  (Read 31867 times)

Puce Moment

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #390 on: September 21, 2020, 11:58:16 PM »
For my sins I sit on the Uni exec council. A taste of a conversation today:

"But doesn't it make sense to plan now for total lockdown and full online teaching? We can have something we can put into place within hours if we plan properly."

"It's unlikely to happen - let's just put our energy into combined teaching. The campus is now open and there are no new cases."

"Well, campus is currently a ghost town so..."

"Anyway, let's arrange the next meeting - ummm, October 22nd?"

"Will that meeting still be online?"

"Yes, I will be in Melbourne until December."

"I see."

Paraphrased but that's what happened.

Blue Jam

  • COLOSSAL DESSERT TOWER
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #391 on: September 22, 2020, 12:30:50 AM »
After today's commute through Holyrood Park I am fully expecting to hear the air ambulance flying overhead to rescue a few students who wanted to see the sunrise over Embra and thought climbing Arthur's Seat in the pitch dark would be a piece of piss.

Our last flat had a great view of Arthur's Seat and we'd see a few flashlights up there most nights, like a miniature Torchlight Procession. We'd also see the occasional helicopter whenever someone tripped and broke their ankle. The view was spectacular but it was also like having NumptyVision.

SpiderChrist

  • "the law of averages says you'll survive"
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #392 on: September 22, 2020, 07:18:31 AM »
Had a bit of an asthma attack cycling home and am still a bit wheezy. That should be fun for scaring people off.

I sneezed in Sainsburys yesterday (Hay fever/rhinitis) and this old fucker gave me the proper stink-eye.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #393 on: September 22, 2020, 07:20:25 AM »
Christ, sounds like our senior management, Puce Moment, down to denying that there is any covid on campus (despite students already having to isolate) and senior management demanding loads of on-site stuff from us whilst themselves being conspicuously absent.

The wunderkind who advises them on intiatives has given us all a new one: we have to have (via Teams) weekly 'coffee meetings' with the three year cohorts, to touch base and get feedback on how they are doing mentally and academically.

Considering the response we had to the Welcome Week chats online, I see maybe some of them showing up the first week, and then diminishing returns thereafter. Because we have to record everything, the students will not speak up -- my group yesterday, which was an almost 100% turnout, would not speak at all in seminar except the barest minimum. As soon as they knew I'd stopped the recording, they were lively and very keen on the subject matter for the upcoming semester.

It could be worse, though, as he proposed initially that each module have a support group meeting like this each week, with the tutor preparing a PowerPoint slide of student comments for that week, how we  responded to those comments, and how we would be taking forward the students' feedback for the rest of the semester, and presenting that at the start of each week's meeting. I have six modules this semester.

No one did any of the advance prep work to support what should have been yesterday's discussion. To be fair, it was the first week, and I did tell them this isn't stuff we're doing IN class, but FOR class, so we'll see what happens next week...

As for social distancing, and the DVC's scoldy email/video sent around last week about illicit campus parties and how they are trying to get the Student Union to grass on the students who go into town to hang out: walking on campus yesterday between classes, I saw very little social distancing, students hanging out in large groups with their friends, messing about -- just students being students. They're wearing their masks in the corridors and when they cross campus, but not in the classroom (and it's optional for them in the classroom -- we can ask them, but we can't compel them to wear masks once inside.)

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #394 on: September 22, 2020, 08:39:03 AM »
Attila, stand up to management, they are not academics, they are the antithesis of academia. Tell them to fuck off. they cannot fire you as they'll be shooting themselves in the foot.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #395 on: September 22, 2020, 12:20:53 PM »
Management can make me redundant, tho, by closing my programme (Classics is pretty small at my uni).

Meanwhile, how does management contact everyone at the uni? By sending out a tweet, of course!

Colleague just alerted me to a tweet from the university that they will make 'an announcement' at the close of play today in response to Gove's statement that if people can work from home, they should work from home.

Knowing my university, we will be told to carry on and continue to come into campus to increasingly smaller and smaller groups of students.

It IS all a bummer, as I really want to get back to ordinary teaching, if and when that time ever comes. It is great to be on campus and hanging out grumbling with my colleagues, working with the students...online learning puts a strain on everyone.

But management is going to be absolutely determined to squeeze as much 'student satisfaction' out of live teaching as possible. They dithered and waited til the last possible instant last March to get us off the campus.

Mr Attila keeps insisting that we'll be switching to online only, but I'm like, dude, how long have you known me, and seen what senior management at my uni is like?

buttgammon

  • Leave him Tony, he's not worth it
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #396 on: September 22, 2020, 12:51:05 PM »
Oh for fuck's sake! Communicating important decisions by sending out a tweet - that's familiar.

The latest news here is that although we'll be online only for the next few weeks at the very least (because of government restrictions), the university is preventing individual faculties and departments from making a consistent decision about how to approach the rest of the term because it's desperate to make us teach in-person.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #397 on: September 22, 2020, 12:59:53 PM »
I just put this in the back to the cubicle, wage slave thread:

Quote
Super waffly new restrictions in the Guardian now. Apparently the covid adheres to curfews and knows to go after the 16th person attending a wedding.

My university will use the loophole that we are a 'covid safe' campus to keep us open (Mr Attila doesn't believe me,,,but there's to be 'an announcement' following the PM's new dictat from the VC this afternoon). The VC keeps insisting that we are a 'covid-free' and a covid-safe campus -- despite classrooms where you can't open windows, shiny new hand sanitiser boxes that have nothing in them, students already reporting that they have to self-isolate (and we're only 2 days into the semester).

On the plus side, I guess that means at least the trains I have to take will be deserted, if Monday was any indication.

Working & even teaching from home, I have got so much done - no worry about the commute, no 4 hours wasted out of my day on the commute, so much savings...just going to campus Monday, that was four hours eaten out of the day to teach for 45 minutes.


I guarantee we'll be required to continue the wonderful hybrid learning scheme. 100% online teaching, I think, could be really effective -- right now, though, I feel as if I'm trying to hold down a full time job (online teaching, prep, etc) that is constantly being interrupted because four hours out of the day is being eaten up with commuting, and additional hours to sit in a classroom that's half live/half virtually attended.

Yep -- re: the tweet. Nothing in email so far. Most of our students and many staff are NOT on Twitter or social media. I'm sure it's on the front page of our currently non-navigable intranet (big switchover midway through last spring, and now you can't read or find anything on it -- the home page used to be the proper intranet for staff and students, now the front page is literally what the public would see if they were googling the university. You have to wade through several pages and links actually to get to useful on-campus info and annoucnements).

I never had anxiety issues before, but fuck me this is making my head hurt this afternoon. This is like when we've had snow/bad weather, and my university has absolutely refused to close (which on one occasion led to support staff being stranded overnight on closed roads) when every other university in the region shut.

Like you, buttgammon I'm at a university absolutely determined to have face to face teaching this semester, no matter what the cost or conditions.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #398 on: September 22, 2020, 01:09:11 PM »
What would Hippocrates do?

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #399 on: September 22, 2020, 01:16:25 PM »
What would Hippocrates do?

I'm a Roman historian -- the question would be, what would Sulla or Octavian do?

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #400 on: September 22, 2020, 01:20:27 PM »
Sulla would have had the entire backbenchers murdered, drone striked Turkey and then fucked off to retire on a farm in the Cotswolds or something.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #401 on: September 22, 2020, 01:56:27 PM »
Sulla would have had the entire backbenchers murdered, drone striked Turkey and then fucked off to retire on a farm in the Cotswolds or something.

I've just put together my Year 2 lecture on Sulla, and that's so close to his reality.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #402 on: September 22, 2020, 05:04:40 PM »
And there it is -- admins and professional staff at my uni: are now required to work from home (unless there is something absolutely essential they must do).

All teaching staff must continue to teach on campus, and are only permitted on campus to teach. New rule: teaching staff must wear face shields at all times to protect the students; students are no required to wear masks in the classroom.

This is all in response to the PM's announcement today about working from home where possible, etc.

Unless we have demonstrable proof that we are vulnerable/need to shield, we must continue to work on campus or face disciplinary action.

No surprises, then.

They have supplied us each with a single, really shitty face shield -- any suggestions for where I could get something a bit more sturdy? I see this one getting pretty skanky if not falling apart in a couple of weeks.

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #403 on: September 22, 2020, 05:07:32 PM »
Wtf? I know little about workplaces but surely this breaks some sort of guideline or discrimination policies. Forcing certain employees to come to work like that. Would that be cause for a strike or union talks?


I've just put together my Year 2 lecture on Sulla, and that's so close to his reality.

I know my complicated dictators!

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #404 on: September 22, 2020, 05:09:59 PM »
Wtf? I know little about workplaces but surely this breaks some sort of guideline or discrimination policies. Forcing certain employees to come to work like that. Would that be cause for a strike or union talks?



At this point, I honestly don't know -- they sent the email around at 1655 as usual, knowing people are taking breaks from screens/email.

If I could disappear myself from the planet, I would do it in an instant. Not feeling my best at the moment as this news sucks a bit.

Blue Jam

  • COLOSSAL DESSERT TOWER
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #405 on: September 22, 2020, 05:59:57 PM »
I guess it's not looking great on the finding a new job front either?

Here I am applying for a maternity cover job- hey, it'd buy me a bit more time before DESTITUTE SOON. I have also been looking at an NHS teaching job- not quite my thing, but it is permanent at least. Until the Tories decide to start laying more people off.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #406 on: September 22, 2020, 06:04:00 PM »
Sadly, no -- there's nothing out there. I had some applications out last spring due to other reasons, but searches have been suspended.

I was looking into what I would do if I was part of the redundancy cull over the summer, so I have some plans; no idea how viable they are. I wish I could make people at home understand how stressful all of this is, and how it's making me feel at the moment. Sigh.

Blue Jam

  • COLOSSAL DESSERT TOWER
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #407 on: September 22, 2020, 06:04:04 PM »
I know my complicated dictators!

He's a complicated dictator/And no-one understands him but his women

SULLA!

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #408 on: September 22, 2020, 06:06:37 PM »
If office workers are to be kept at home for another few months then I'm fucked for work searching still. Feels really weird to not even really be searching for work with any purpose.

He's a complicated dictator/And no-one understands him but his women

SULLA!


Hehe

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #409 on: September 22, 2020, 06:09:37 PM »
And there it is -- admins and professional staff at my uni: are now required to work from home (unless there is something absolutely essential they must do).

All teaching staff must continue to teach on campus, and are only permitted on campus to teach. New rule: teaching staff must wear face shields at all times to protect the students; students are no required to wear masks in the classroom.

This is all in response to the PM's announcement today about working from home where possible, etc.

Unless we have demonstrable proof that we are vulnerable/need to shield, we must continue to work on campus or face disciplinary action.

No surprises, then.

They have supplied us each with a single, really shitty face shield -- any suggestions for where I could get something a bit more sturdy? I see this one getting pretty skanky if not falling apart in a couple of weeks.

those face shields are shit (see Coronavirus thread), take the University to court, fucking hell.

Blue Jam

  • COLOSSAL DESSERT TOWER
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #410 on: September 22, 2020, 06:12:18 PM »
I would say I wish I was a virologist right now, but there isn't even much research work on the 'vid unless you're a clinician- fair enough, finding a safe and effective vaccine is a priority right now but any government less crap than ours should be funding basic research on emerging novel coronaviruses and the monitoring of potential new pandemics

My usual Plan Z- to go and work in a call centre for a bit- probably won't be an option this time. I do at least have my own bike though, so I guess I'll just have to become a Deliveroo rider instead.

Puce Moment

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #411 on: September 22, 2020, 06:52:22 PM »
I can't really copy and paste any of this stuff because it would expose the institution I am employed by, but our UCU is fucking HAMMERING the VC. It's all preemptive - when the shit hits the fanny they will be able to pull these out and say "well we did ask, and you did nothing."

If I was a VC I would seriously be thinking about the possibilty that I could get prosecuted for this down the road.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #412 on: September 22, 2020, 06:53:21 PM »
I would say I wish I was a virologist right now, but there isn't even much research work on the 'vid unless you're a clinician- fair enough, finding a safe and effective vaccine is a priority right now but any government less crap than ours should be funding basic research on emerging novel coronaviruses and the monitoring of potential new pandemics

My usual Plan Z- to go and work in a call centre for a bit- probably won't be an option this time. I do at least have my own bike though, so I guess I'll just have to become a Deliveroo rider instead.

JBC is hiring right now. Come join us!

Blue Jam

  • COLOSSAL DESSERT TOWER
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #413 on: September 22, 2020, 06:58:46 PM »
Sorry, JBC?


Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #415 on: September 22, 2020, 07:15:13 PM »
I can't really copy and paste any of this stuff because it would expose the institution I am employed by, but our UCU is fucking HAMMERING the VC. It's all preemptive - when the shit hits the fanny they will be able to pull these out and say "well we did ask, and you did nothing."

If I was a VC I would seriously be thinking about the possibilty that I could get prosecuted for this down the road.

I had signed off my email after I got that email from the VC, but just had to check it for something for a student - yeah, our UCU guy is getting absolutely hammered with emails from everyone at the uni, and he's hopping furious (not at us, but the directive being handed down).

I've just been to a construction website that sells protective gear, and got myself a pack of disposible face shields for what it's worth. They look a hell of a lot better made, as far as these things go, than the absolute shit we've been given to last for 12 weeks. It astonishes me that 'ALL STAFF MUST NOW WEAR FACE SHIELDS' in the classroom is the ONLY thing that's being said to staff that's new (it was optional before; we're not allowed to wear face masks) -- and it was made clear it is to protect the students. This after all of the articles on the news about how face shields really are useless.

The email sent by 'senior management' (it wasn't signed by the VC) is really hastily put together, just a lot of bullet points, and there's a lot of bolding and all caps all over it about how we are committed to face to face teaching, how the PM has said unis must remain open (did he? I didn't see that in the Guardian's recap), and how we MUST continue to teach face to  face according to our timetables or face disciplinary action.

Mr Attila honestly couldn't believe it - he thought I was just being a miseryguts when I told him. Support staff are being told to stay away. We're being told we should not be in our offices at all now -- just coming in to teach and then fuck off campus asap. So how am I meant to do that, when I have hour long gaps here and there in my timetable? How am I meant to do that when one train gets me to campus an hour before my class, but the next would make me late?

I know online teaching isn't the ideal, but needs must. The VC and management are really exposing their greed now.

ETA -- I had a boatload of emails from students begging me to let them attend classes only online as our rota system is really fucking up the students who commute -- some of them have a 10am class they have to attend in person, folowed by an 11am class online, followed by an inperson class!

I can't allow it -- the process is that they have to convince the dean that they have a geniune medical condition, and then it has to go to the DVC for approval.

We've also got the opposite -- students rocking up to the classroom when they were supposed to be dialling in on Teams, and having to tell them to leave. It didn't happen to me on Monday, but apparently the past two days there have been issues (and angry students who had commuted in just for class, only to be told they had to go sit outside and dial in on Teams because the room was at capacity).

I'm myself finding it really hard to concentrate and get everything done, with still converting a lot of stuff to online delivery, respond to a million emails, sit in on all of the new Teams meetings, training sessions, tutorials, feedback sessions I'm meant to attend. It's an absolute clusterfuck. There are very success online university courses (OU, for example) who aren't at home to Mr Cockup, so why is the situation so fucking dire?

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #416 on: September 22, 2020, 07:19:11 PM »
Surely ordering you not to wear face masks is illegal?

At the very least anonymously tip the local paper and Private Eye off about that one.

Attila

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #417 on: September 22, 2020, 07:21:20 PM »
Surely ordering you not to wear face masks is illegal?

At the very least anonymously tip the local paper and Private Eye off about that one.

We are ordered to wear face shields in the classroom; face masks everywhere else. No one is allowed to teach with a face mask (because of hearing impaired students) -- apologies that I wasn't clear. I'm a bit frazzled and ranting at th emoment.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #418 on: September 22, 2020, 07:30:11 PM »
No, I got it.

I still think banning a face mask is not on especially as face shields are useless.

I work at a uni, but I don’t have to actually share a room with students at any point. Most support staff are still working from home, and us in facilities management have the office door locked and a window hatch open instead (the office is an old reception).

No one here can see face to face teaching in non-practicals surviving more than a fortnight.

If I was a lecturer I’d start ‘developing’ Covid symptoms and begin self-isolating.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #419 on: September 22, 2020, 07:45:05 PM »
The system is corrupt and needs tearing down (I say with 1 week left before I leave academia).

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