It’s been over six weeks since my last post, and you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d fallen off the face of the earth. Fortunately (I hope) that’s not the case; I’m alive and well, and I have been busy (sort of), honest! I’ve spent a lot of time supporting students, supporting colleagues and preparing for next semester’s hybrid delivery. However, everyone on the internet is talking about the hybrid delivery so I won’t bore you with my inconsequential 2 cents. Instead, here’s the highlights package of everything else I’ve been doing…
Sharing is caring Pt. 1
Every year I really look forward to Teesside University’s Learning & Teaching Enhancement Conference. It’s a chance for me to share what I’ve been doing, and an opportunity for me to pick up some tips from colleagues in other subject areas. Thanks to you-know-who (is a virus a who or a what?), this year’s conference couldn’t go ahead. However, all was not lost as our School decided to hold a Teams-based mini L&T conference instead.
I decided to share what I’d been doing on formative feedback in OneNote Class Notebooks (a big shout out to Helen Carney – @SciKnit – for introducing me to its wonders in that staff CPD session a year and bit ago!). Colleagues from across the School, from Graduate Tutors to Heads of Departments, shared their own good practice using Teams, Office Lens and even bespoke applications to support students. It was great to see the innovative practice in the different departments and to be able to share our work with so many colleagues in the School.
If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen this from a few weeks back:
Right now I should be across the 'pond' with my parents, starting our annual holiday. Instead we're 5,000 miles apart with another 6 months to a year till we hopefully meet again. And I'm staring at 2wks of leave where I try not to open the work laptop (and fail). Stupid virus 😠
— Samantha Gooneratne (@dr_samg) June 30, 2020
I’m normally a huge fan of the staycation – at Christmas, I love crawling out of bed and onto the sofa and watching far too many mediocre Christmas movies. But when all I’d been doing for the past three months was crawling out of bed and onto the laptop and responding to far too many emails, the idea of ‘more of the same-ish’ really wasn’t that appealing.
Unfortunately, I had no other option. Well I did, thanks to some kind invitations from nearby colleagues to get some exercise…but physical exertion and I have something of a love-hate relationship. I love to walk; I hate to start walking. “The inertia is strong with this one!” I hear you say. Indeed.
I don’t like cricket…I love it!
Whilst I may not be a fan of physical exertion myself, observing others being all sporty is a past time I enjoy immensely (cue all the jokes about cricket not requiring physical exertion). When I was writing up my PhD thesis during the UK’s coldest December on record, one thing that kept me going was the gentle chat on BBC’s Test Match Special’s Ashes coverage. I’ve been a loyal TMS follower since then, so it was only natural that I tuned in for the post-covid return to cricket in the form of the West Indies tour. It was really impressive to see how all the various bio-bubbles had been established and maintained, with a view to keeping everyone safe and making sure the game could proceed.
Sharing is Caring Pt. 2
Aside from the OneNote Class Notebook, I’ve also done a fair bit of work using Teams this year (some of which I’ve mentioned elsewhere). Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to present this work alongside Esther Ventura-Medina (@evm_SkIL) and Daniel Beneroso (@DanielBeneroso) as part of an IChemE webinar: Online collaborative learning – working with teams remotely. It was my first time presenting outside the Teesside audience, and I think it went really well, if I do say so myself!
Please pick M(IE-)E!
Last, but definitely not least, I submitted an application to maintain my Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert status for the coming year. Now the nervous waiting begins!
So yes, that’s it. Not inundated I guess but definitely not ‘free’! I’ve got some other projects in the pipeline so I’ll try to post more regularly from now on.
In the midst of all this, I almost forgot that last week marked 9 years since my PhD graduation. Sadly that happy day coincided with the untimely passing of the musical gem that was Amy Winehouse. And so I’ll leave you with one of my favourites of her’s. Until next time.