Author Topic: University Challenged  (Read 31780 times)

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #450 on: September 24, 2020, 12:55:18 PM »
Just finished an absolute disaster of a 2 1/2 hour class meeting. Tech started acting up, just a domino-effect clusterfuck. The students were good eggs, but you could tell they were getting restless. I have NO idea why this particular class has to be so long -- a mix of lecturing and seminar, half the kids in the room, half dialling in.

I haven't been this frazzled and upset after a teaching session since I was a brand new teaching assistant about 30 years ago -- usually this is my favourite module to teach -- and would have been today, if I hadn't had to wrestle with balky equipment, having to start and stop recordings four or five times, and just all of the attendant bullshit of trying to wrangle both live and online participants.

Going home now -- tipping down with rain -- so I can get back to all of the other work I need to do to prep for four hours of this stuff again on Friday (another two hour class and then back to back seminars of the same module.)

I'm going to whinge here and say, I don't think I can keep this up for anothr 11 weeks.

Puce Moment

  • Member
  • **
  • Hi guys
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #451 on: September 24, 2020, 01:22:24 PM »
Fucking hell - none of our online teaching sessions are allowed to be more than one hour.

I seriously think you need to go and murder your VC and all his (I assume) underlings. You might also want to consider an anonymous Twitter account to document this. There are going to be some doozies as the term starts proper.

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #452 on: September 24, 2020, 02:21:06 PM »
By comparison, I spent the morning cleaning a loafing shed and wheelbarrowing wire fencing up and down and I feel bloody great.

The lesson: fuck off jobs where you have to deal with cunts and tech.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #453 on: September 24, 2020, 02:25:18 PM »
Fucking hell - none of our online teaching sessions are allowed to be more than one hour.

I seriously think you need to go and murder your VC and all his (I assume) underlings. You might also want to consider an anonymous Twitter account to document this. There are going to be some doozies as the term starts proper.

We received special permission to have these 'two hour classes' on the condition that we teach for an hour, take a 15 minute break, then teach for an hour. That was a departmental request, not management.

Management's rule is one hour sessions only.

I'm back at the house now, having ranted at Mr Attila. Really frustrated an headachy right now.

There are days when I miss my sheep farm, bgmnts. I'm seriously not kidding when I've asked Mr Attila to consider us upping sticks and moving to Scotland so I can have a little farm again, and maybe run a spinning/weaving shop, crafty whatever. Sadly he's not keen on moving at the moment, so I'm stuck with slogging through this stuff.

Anyone in my programme who claims that everything's been going 100% groovy is lying.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #454 on: September 24, 2020, 02:42:39 PM »
6 hour (3 + 3) block mode sessions starting next week.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #455 on: September 24, 2020, 03:15:06 PM »
By comparison, I spent the morning cleaning a loafing shed and wheelbarrowing wire fencing up and down and I feel bloody great.

The lesson: fuck off jobs where you have to deal with cunts and tech.

A wise man speaks from the bottom of a damp, earthy garden. In the gloaming. In autumn. Brilliant. Perfect.

Puce Moment

  • Member
  • **
  • Hi guys
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #456 on: September 24, 2020, 05:04:32 PM »
A friend at a different University down the road has forwarded me the email sent from their branch of UCU to the VC. It's pretty fucking damning, even moreso than our own UCU branch, and includes tasty morsels as this:

"This branch notes:
- There have been regular consultation meetings between the Executive Board and our UCU Negotiating committee since the start of the pandemic
- That, during these consultation meetings, our UCU Negotiating committee has constructively engaged with proposals for a safe return to campus, the protection of all jobs, a revised workload model to address the new working conditions set by the pandemic
- That the University has instrumentally referred to these consultations in communication with all staff
- That, in such communications, the University has instrumentally omitted to report UCU’s concerns and strong disagreement
- That the University appears to engage with these negotiations only to gain legitimation but with no real intention to meaningfully engage with UCU’s proposals
- That the UCU and UNISON Health and Safety reps report on the campus tour of the 4th of September declares the campus unsafe for the imminent reopening to students and staff.

This branch believes
- That the University Executive Board cannot be trusted for meaningful consultations and negotiations
- That our UCU branch should not accept any compromise on safety, job security and the mental health and wellbeing of all staff

This branch resolves:
- To declare a collective dispute if an individual opt-out procedure for face-to-face teaching during the COVID crisis is not offered to all staff
- To call on the University to make the default mode for teaching online-only for the duration of the COVID crisis
- To formally urge the University to stop all redundancies of Part Time Hourly Paid colleagues
- To demand a new workload model negotiated via UCU
- To demand the protection of research time, funding and support
- To explore the possibility of declaring a formal dispute with the University if the demands above are not addressed.

This branch notes:

- The continuing failure of management to address the culture of bullying at **********. We particularly condemn attempts to utilise the disciplinary process to victimise any UCU member for their involvement in our recent "Four Fights" industrial action.

This branch resolves:
- That it will use all means at our disposal to defend members, including lawful industrial action, and calls on senior university management to rein in perpetrators forthwith."

If your UCU branch is not responding in this way then vote the useless reps out. If you are not in the UCU I don't mind paying for your potential safety, but please join if you can.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #457 on: September 24, 2020, 05:10:34 PM »
Who would have thought the first pillar of nouveau-capitalism to fall would be the institutions of enlightenment.

Blue Jam

  • Some problems in the theory of molecular vibration
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #458 on: September 24, 2020, 07:46:45 PM »
Students in Scotchland told: "Don't go to the pub":

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-54285720

Yeah, that'll work.

SpiderChrist

  • "the law of averages says you'll survive"
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #459 on: September 24, 2020, 08:02:59 PM »
Ooof, sorry to hear that.

This might cheer you up:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54278053

Would you send your kid to Uni? I fucking wouldn't.

I fucking did.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #460 on: September 24, 2020, 08:37:06 PM »
Students in Scotchland told: "Don't go to the pub":

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-54285720

Yeah, that'll work.

My WhatsApp has been buzzing all evening on this. We’re writing. A letter.

Puce Moment

  • Member
  • **
  • Hi guys
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #461 on: September 24, 2020, 09:19:05 PM »
I fucking did.

I hope they don't die or cause the death of anyone else. Truly.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #462 on: September 25, 2020, 11:40:36 AM »
Halfway through another day of shambles -- Teams not sharing powerpont slides, and two hours in a classroom with the aircon cranked up so high I am still shaking fromthe cold -- that's their idea of circulating air, I guess.

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #463 on: September 25, 2020, 11:42:16 AM »
Airconditioning? It's autumn in the uk for fuck's sake.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #464 on: September 25, 2020, 12:11:50 PM »
The aircon system in that building is either blowing boiling hot air, or freezing cold. All of the other rooms have their windows wide open. There's no heating on in my office block yet, so I am still shivering from the cold of that classroom. I'm bundled up in a big wool cloak I keep in here for the winter.

Word on the street is the uni is about to come under inspection for not providing the covid-safe conditions it claims to have had. Dunno if that's a rumour or not, but apparently just having stickers all over the place and asking staff to report any students who look feverish might not be cutting it.

Just listening to the students, and what they get up to in the halls of an evening...it's not a matter of if I'l get covid, but when.

::blows party popper::

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #465 on: September 25, 2020, 12:44:03 PM »
Halfway through another day of shambles -- Teams not sharing powerpont slides, and two hours in a classroom with the aircon cranked up so high I am still shaking fromthe cold -- that's their idea of circulating air, I guess.

Yes, there are issues with PP and Teams. Zoom better for that.

buttgammon

  • How thick is wall?
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #466 on: September 25, 2020, 01:27:52 PM »
We were meant to be doing all teaching on Blackboard Collaborate but we've taken out a Zoom license, so it seems so flexibility will be afforded. Less than a fortnight before teaching starts and we still don't know for sure. Looking at what's happening where some of you are still teaching face-to-face I know I'm lucky to only have technological issues to worry about, though.

Puce Moment

  • Member
  • **
  • Hi guys
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #467 on: September 25, 2020, 01:50:57 PM »
I got an email from the Head of the Faculty letting me know that see-through masks are now available to pick-up for students who lip-read.

I replied letting her know that I won't need to wear a mask on teams, zoom, blackboard collaborate or whatever fucking software they get around to choosing.

No reply as of yet!

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #468 on: September 25, 2020, 03:39:31 PM »
Yes, there are issues with PP and Teams. Zoom better for that.

Not allowed to use Zoom.

In fact, the uni-supplied laptops (which I am NOT using because they are absolute wank and filled with monitoring software) will not allow you to download Zoom.

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #469 on: September 25, 2020, 03:40:58 PM »
Sorry probably being a MEGA thick cunt here but what's to stop you getting a teaching job at a different university, out of interest?

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #470 on: September 25, 2020, 03:47:55 PM »
Sorry probably being a MEGA thick cunt here but what's to stop you getting a teaching job at a different university, out of interest?

Don't worry, it's not a silly question :)

No job openings anywhere. There haven't been, for ages. And I've been stuck in a programme leader role for so long (two cycles, so 6 years), my research/grant profile isn't as high as it should be -- I have a good track record, but universities are looking for someone with a lot of external money, publications, all that good stuff. I was just getting back into that last year when all this happened.

As awful as things are, I'm really lucky to have a position at all (something our management likes to remind us about).

I was regularly applying for jobs as they came open in my area of teaching, and not even making the short list. I had one app. out last winter for a uni looking to develop a Classical history programme, and thought I might have a chance there, but like everyone else, they buttoned up with all the economic problems covid is causing. Places aren't hiring now from what I can see -- they're all about the redundancies. :(

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #471 on: September 25, 2020, 03:49:02 PM »
Toyed with retraining to teach Latin at a school -- I don't have a teaching certification, and I don't know if you can teach at any schools in the UK without one (you can teach in private and independent schools in the US without a state certification, for example.)


Puce Moment

  • Member
  • **
  • Hi guys
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #472 on: September 25, 2020, 04:30:34 PM »
Don't worry, it's not a silly question :)

No job openings anywhere. There haven't been, for ages. And I've been stuck in a programme leader role for so long (two cycles, so 6 years), my research/grant profile isn't as high as it should be -- I have a good track record, but universities are looking for someone with a lot of external money, publications, all that good stuff. I was just getting back into that last year when all this happened.

You shouldn't be Programme Leader for longer than 3 academic years maximum. The good news is that the duty of care being shown to you is so unprofessional and negligent that if they EVER tried to get you for some infraction they wouldn't have a leg so stand on, and indeed your Line Managers would be the ones liable for your actions.

Unless you fuck a student. Please don't fuck a student.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #473 on: September 25, 2020, 04:53:55 PM »
Not allowed to use Zoom.

In fact, the uni-supplied laptops (which I am NOT using because they are absolute wank and filled with monitoring software) will not allow you to download Zoom.

Are you in Soviet Russia?

I'm due to get a government laptop soon - probably packed to the gills with monitoring software, so even when I'm using this laptop for CaB it will know.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #474 on: September 25, 2020, 04:57:04 PM »
Don't worry, it's not a silly question :)

No job openings anywhere. There haven't been, for ages. And I've been stuck in a programme leader role for so long (two cycles, so 6 years), my research/grant profile isn't as high as it should be -- I have a good track record, but universities are looking for someone with a lot of external money, publications, all that good stuff. I was just getting back into that last year when all this happened.

As awful as things are, I'm really lucky to have a position at all (something our management likes to remind us about).

I was regularly applying for jobs as they came open in my area of teaching, and not even making the short list. I had one app. out last winter for a uni looking to develop a Classical history programme, and thought I might have a chance there, but like everyone else, they buttoned up with all the economic problems covid is causing. Places aren't hiring now from what I can see -- they're all about the redundancies. :(

Although not good, its good to know that my failures at getting a lectureship is not an outlier and even the best like yourself struggle. There is a spot on group leader position in Switzerland opened up (Federal Institute), but that is probably as much pressure as this government gig and I just need some downtime. Also positions in Colorado and Berkeley that are promising, but...fear of flying (imagine fucking having to fly in and out of Denver regularly!!).

Blue Jam

  • Some problems in the theory of molecular vibration
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #475 on: September 25, 2020, 05:07:39 PM »
Are you in Soviet Russia?

Laptops running any Windows OS other than 10 are actually blocked from connecting to the Eduroam wifi at Embra. I think there may be a similar deal with old versions of MacOS.

We're also told not to use Dropbox but everyone does.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #476 on: September 25, 2020, 05:45:29 PM »
Laptops running any Windows OS other than 10 are actually blocked from connecting to the Eduroam wifi at Embra. I think there may be a similar deal with old versions of MacOS.

We're also told not to use Dropbox but everyone does.

suppose I was lucky as I had a Fellowship purchased MacBook Pro that no-one has asked about (I purchased in Canada and the EU and University haven't asked for it back). In fact the University never bothered me over the 10 years I was there. Never took any annual leave, did a couple of PDRs, *shrugs*...probably why I'm drowning now in Big Gov with all the protocols and attention and time sheets.

Puce Moment

  • Member
  • **
  • Hi guys
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #477 on: September 25, 2020, 05:47:04 PM »
Looks like Panopto isn't working with any of our online teaching software so no way to capture sessions.

Oh noes.....

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #478 on: September 25, 2020, 05:47:34 PM »
I once got told off for not signing the out of hours book when going back to my office to get something I forgot after the School christmas party. Oh, and also for "being seen" taking a coffee from one of the meeting room coffee machines (free at the time) - "this was for a visitor" (my wife) so I had the last laugh.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #479 on: September 25, 2020, 06:06:59 PM »
You shouldn't be Programme Leader for longer than 3 academic years maximum. The good news is that the duty of care being shown to you is so unprofessional and negligent that if they EVER tried to get you for some infraction they wouldn't have a leg so stand on, and indeed your Line Managers would be the ones liable for your actions.

Unless you fuck a student. Please don't fuck a student.

Heh, don't worry -- I was the undergrad involved with the prof(s), not the other way around.

Mine is a small programme, so I ended up PL for a little over 6 years. I had no teaching relief during that time. Now the role is divided amongst 3 people because 'It's such a difficult role for one person to balance with teaching and research'. To be fair, it's not just my programme; a number of the humanities programmes are dividing the chores amongst several people, as the demands on PLs have become increasingly mental over the past few years.

I begged to be replaced, because I didn't want to be in charge of a second revalidation event. And because I was falling between the cracks when it came to grants, research, &c. I'm hopelessly behind where I should/wanted to be at this point, and I no longer qualify for some of the bigger grants, like the BA mid-career scholarship (too old/too far past my PhD year).

Interesting article in the Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/sep/25/uk-universities-bullying-junior-staff-into-face-to-face-teaching

or did I already post this?

Tags: