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What's working like for you?

colour portrait photograph of John Jack

The coronavirus lockdown has changed the way we work individually, with our own teams and with other teams at the University. Whether we are working from home or are working on the campus, each of us is adapting in our own way to these changed circumstances. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we will share the experience of some of our colleagues.

John Jack is a Senior Technician Teaching and Research with the Workshop and Studio Division, part of cluster three. He is based on London Road where the team provides support for students and staff in the School of Architecture and the Institute of Education.

We asked John how the lockdown had affected his work:

“Usually at this time of year the workshop would be bustling with activity as the team supported students making physical models for year projects. We are still supporting students with end of year projects but activity is online and bustle virtual rather than physical. Architecture colleagues quickly decided that, instead of submitting physical models, students could submit digital models or photographs of physical models of their projects and the team responded by developing resources to deliver on-line support for both physical and digital model making. The team have also been creating videos and on-line resources to support Institute of Education students and I know cluster three colleagues in Film, Theatre and Television and Fine Art have been doing the same.

“It seems that everyone in cluster three has had to familiarise themselves with several new technologies and everyone has risen admirably to the challenges of acquiring new skills and adopting different approaches. All colleagues have really gone the extra mile to get support to their students. We all know a lot more about Teams and Blackboard – CQSD and DTS colleagues deserve thanks for that. I’d used Teams in my Staff Forum role, but I now appreciate it a lot more. I definitely prefer physical teaching and learning spaces, but I can now see benefits to virtual ones. Screen sharing via Teams is a very good way of providing CAD support.

“I also prefer to be sharing a physical rather than a virtual workspace with colleagues, virtual tea and biscuits are not quite the same as their real counterparts. The London Road campus has a specific atmosphere with its mix of cloisters and open green space and I’ve been missing walking there. But morning walks in my local park where tall regularly spaced trees line the paths remind me of morning walks in the Cloisters. One potential advantage of a virtual workplace is the absence of distance. Physical meetings with Whiteknights based Cluster three colleagues involve travel for most participants, Teams meeting don’t. I think in future we will all be combining the physical and virtual in ways appropriate to our circumstances."

To enable as many people as possible to share their experience the Internal Communications team has developed a storyboard, so if you’d like to take part, contact the Internal Communications team and a member of the team will guide you through the process. These will form a series of articles on what new ways of working have been like for colleagues as well as offering practical advice, hints and tips on how to manage this.

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