This month saw the University create, manage and operate the largest Student Covid-19 testing site in Scotland. From the moment the Universities Minister for Scotland announced on 11 November that mass testing would be available for all students wishing to travel home for the winter break, teams of staff and students across the University came together to support the project.
With only 12 days to create testing facilities to students for four of Edinburgh Higher Education institutions, staff had to work fast. After the sites for testing had been chosen, the Estates team, led by Aislinn Wood, Project Manager, worked with colleagues from the Sport and Exercise team to completely transform the two sports halls in just eight days. The entire Estates team worked tirelessly to make sure everything was ready in time.
The Hybrid Teaching Exchange website showcases how colleagues across the University have approached the shift to hybrid teaching. Here, Joe Arton, Academic Developer and part of the Hybrid Teaching Exchange project team, and Dr Jon Turner, Director of the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), share how the approach to Semester 1 has informed the preparation for Semester 2 teaching.
The Hybrid Teaching Exchange is where colleagues can share work in progress, learning, insights, ideas, plans and resources to support hybrid teaching for 2020/21. The aim of these digests is to provide an overview of the site and highlight new and existing content that we hope will be useful and of interest to you and colleagues. Since the last digest, we have expanded the depth of content in existing themes and added a new theme Supporting Mental Health, Wellbeing and Resilience.
Reflections on Semester 1
Throughout Semester 1, the Exchange has documented the University-wide experience of transitioning to hybrid during Covid-19. Contributions have included departmental plans, strategies and personal narratives from staff and students. Highlights from Semester 1 include:
In Semester 2, the Exchange will continue to support hybrid teaching and learning by being comprehensive, iterative, responsive and practical. For example, in order to answer some of the mental health and wellbeing challenges of Semester 1, we have introduced Supporting Mental Health, Wellbeing and Resilience in a digital environment as a new theme. Content that colleagues may find useful while preparing for Semester 2 includes:
Originally from Chennai, India, PhD student Durai Arun Pannir Selvam shares how he’s navigating the pandemic.
Scotland’s public health response to the pandemic can be challenging for everyone at the University, but perhaps none more so than our international students. Originally from Chennai, India, PhD student Durai Arun Pannir Selvam provides an interesting account of how he’s coping.
How can you organise an open day with global restrictions on travel? How can you show off Edinburgh without walking around the city? And how can you support and communicate with prospective students when they are spread out across the world?
These are just a few of the challenges facing the Transitions into the University Strand of the Adaptation and Renewal Students Work Stream as they approached the new recruitment cycle.
Now that our University’s new HR services, supported and enabled by the People and Money system, are now live, make sure you take time to go in and explore the system.
As a reminder, all of us can now log in via MyEd to complete everyday HR tasks like requesting or approving leave, recruiting to new roles, gaining approvals for job changes or amending our personal details.
The School of History, Classics & Archaeology has a strong tradition of working closely with the University’s Students’ Association and student societies, and throughout the coronavirus pandemic this relationship has been stronger than ever.
For Dr Esther Mijers, Senior Lecturer in Scottish History and Director of Undergraduate Studies, preparations at the School of History, Classics & Archaeologyfor the new semester began early.
Providing a world-class university education to more than 40,000 students has never been simple. This year, that challenge has of course taken on the extra complication of adapting life on campus to meet both the needs of our students and complex coronavirus prevention precautions.
Social distancing means packed lecture theatres are, for now, a thing of the past. However, the University decided early on that it was important to still offer students as much of the Edinburgh experience as possible. That meant trying to do something more than moving all teaching online.
The pandemic has changed how a lot of people work. More than ever we’re relying on technology and data-driven methods to help with out day-to-day roles. In this issue Edd McCracken, Head of News, speaks to a number of our academics about how they have embraced this new way of working.
From 28 October, the University is transforming our HR and finance services and giving everyone a simple, online system for the tasks we need to get done day to day, like recruiting staff or booking holiday.
Five months ago, Edinburgh was deserted. As we all came to terms with lockdown, and our lives shrunk to the size of our living rooms, the University and its estate was quieter than it had been in a long, long time. Only our key workers were continuing to travel in to work, keeping an eye on things and making sure the disturbance to our community was as minimal as possible.
Now, Scotland is slowly opening up and we’re beginning to welcome back more of our staff and students. Bulletin invited you to share your snapshots and stories so we can celebrate our staff who are gradually returning to work, as well as those who never stopped.
Professor Christina Boswell, Dean of Research in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, understands what it’s like to wrestle with uncertainty at the start of a career in academia. Here she shares why early career researchers have been hit so hard by the pandemic, and explains how the University is improving the support available.
One of the most important aspects of managing the safe return of students and staff to campus has been to carefully review and update the provision of frontline services to ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place.
Colleagues from the Estates and Digital Infrastructure Work Stream have been working hard for months – in close liaison with Public Health Scotland – to put in place procedures that will be carried out by teams from Estates. These measures are in line with Scottish Government guidance and will be amended as advice changes.