Storying Sheffield


The start of COVID-19 – Pre-lockdown

COVID is starting to worsen, in person lectures have just been cancelled for the foreseeable future and hearing labs might be too. There may be some leniency for Universities meaning we could potentially carry on as normal if the cases stay relatively low, who knows.

It looks like we’re about to go into a full lockdown, likely meaning there will be no university as we know it for a while. Labs cancelled and all face-to-face teaching suspended. I suppose I’m staying at home. I can’t imagine there will be any change before the end of the academic year. The department seem to be making plans for summer exams to be done at home.

Managing the first national lockdown

Finding it hard to sound enthusiastic talking to a computer. I haven’t managed it for longer than half an hour yet. What’s worse is, I know after each recording, I have to sit and listen to myself for subtitles. Surely that isn’t me, I do not sound like that. What would be an hour’s work is taking twice that. No commute anymore so I guess work just goes on forever? I’m getting there though, sort of getting used to being by myself.

Demonstrating in labs is coming up for me, looking forward to having some normality and human interaction, although not too sure how I’m supposed to continue providing help for my tutorial group and lecture courses at the same time. Time will tell.

Returning to normal – After the UK national lockdown

In the full swing of online learning now. Engagement is hit and miss, surprisingly first years seem to give the most interaction. The anonymity seems to have helped in workshops, more interaction than the usual face-to-face teaching! Although worryingly I haven’t heard from any fourth years yet. Hopefully this means they understand everything, or maybe they don’t and can’t tell if others do, who knows. Still working all day. I’d quite like to get out of the house at some point, or be able to continue with my research, either would be nice.

Demonstrating went very well, students seemed much more productive than previous years and having a smaller group meant that I was able to provide help to everyone efficiently. Even with having only one other demonstrator, feedback seemed good and everyone enjoyed some normality.

The government has released guidelines about students returning home. We found out from the newspapers, as usual. All teaching is going back online by the 9th of December, hopefully that doesn’t mean back to square one. Seems to be a mixed response but I’m sure it will benefit the students, a change of scenery and should be good for productivity and mental health. Nothing about when students are coming back as of yet, would be good if we could find out soon enough to allow us time to plan. It seems the government has forgotten that not all degrees are lectures and seminars…