Life is about change, and I always focus on the positive side of any change. Last year, when all educational activities were suddenly cancelled, I hadn’t yet taught online or heard of Zoom. I only knew Skype because I used it to talk with family in Canada. I immediately installed all kinds of software on my home computer to look at what could be of use for me and my colleagues. There I was, shifting from my laptop to my desktop and back.
I’m keenly aware that we may be ready to shelve COVID, but that COVID isn’t in any hurry to leave us alone. I sometimes notice that I need to take a step back. It’s not a good sign when something trivial starts to push my buttons. Spending whole days on Teams, Zoom, Jitsi, you name it, makes me crave for activity. At times, I have done a flash workout next to the coffee machine. I certainly take that as a sign to go and spend time outside, and meetup with family and friends.
Human contact is very important to me. I remember how happy it made me to meet some colleagues at the first written exam in many months’ time – colleagues that I used to have chance encounters with when strolling hallways. No small “hi” and “hello” this time, but great enthusiasm all around. I am happy that live classes have resumed, and so are the students. At times I have felt like a student councillor when encouraging them to go outside. A week later, I would follow-up with a phone call to ask if they heeded my advice.
COVID won’t knock me down, but I’m looking forward to a somewhat calmer year. On the other hand, we have learned so much these past years. I’m very curious to see how we will continue to use all these new technical means for education. We have already started to experiment with hybrid education – having simultaneous live and online classes.