Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Reading Week Relief

Never was a week free of classes so welcome. Even though our St Patrick’s Day is more like a Doomsday, it too is a welcome break for everyone in Ireland - for one day at least we don’t have to worry about going to work.

Reading week offers students an opportunity to draw breath after 8 weeks in a busy semester. We have another Reading week after Easter - more welcome relief before the last week of the semester. It is a time for students to work on assignments, catch up on essential reading, study for exams, meet with project supervisors, and revise. For Faculty it is also a welcome break from class - most of the time during Reading week spent by me is on grading assignments.

For many students, study at College will be the last thing on their minds, or at least it will be way down their list of priorities right now. While it might be tempting to give up and drop out, I would encourage students to hold fast and finish out the semester as we are so close to the end. Many students may be considering deferring completion, and Colleges everywhere will have to consider this possibility and allow it. Many Colleges are in the midst of replacing exams with projects/assignments - this should make it easier for students to complete their studies.

Image Source: Reddit.
Most third-level institutions can continue to function using virtual classrooms - next week all my classes will be conducted through Adobe Connect virtual classroom software. This facility is not available to all Lecturers. Some colleagues are planning to record lectures, others plan to use voice-over PowerPoints, some will use Microsoft Teams, while I’m sure that many will not be in a position to provide a technical solution due to broadband/home computer issues, as well as lack of knowledge/training on how on-line classrooms work. It will not be easy for everyone to switch from a lifetime of standing in front of students in a lecture theatre, to suddenly switch to on-line delivery.

Please note: Views expressed in this blog post are entirely my own personal views, and not those of NCI or any other academic institution.

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