Thursday, September 01, 2022

A professor lectures to an empty room as all students work from home

I agree that this is not good. I always took questions from students during and after a lecture and that was a helpful part of the process

A university professor has cried out for help after he gave a lecture to a completely empty hall - as students watch remotely from home rather than come to campus.

Jan Slapeta, a Professor of Veterinary and Molecular Parasitology at Sydney University, posted an image of his deserted lecture theatre on Monday as all students were dialling in.

The work-from-home habits adopted during Covid lockdowns have lingered long after most isolation measures for the virus had been abandoned.

Prof. Slapeta said students as a result are missing out not only on collaborative learning but the social life that had always been a major part of the student experience.

'Should I be shocked again? 1 pm lecture - no one! I lectured empty chairs,' he posted to social media.

Professor Slapeta tagged Sydney University in the post, asking for answers after the only student he encountered was one who turned up early for the next class.

'10 min in a student that was early for 2 pm lecture showed up (completely unrelated subject, different degree).

'We had a great discussion, and I had one keen student learning,' he wrote, before asking the uni: 'Where from now? Help @Sydney Uni'

The veterinary professor told Daily Mail Australia it was an issue that 'required deep thought', as lecture attendance had been 'declining for several years' - even before the pandemic - as the university allowed students to log in remotely.

Peter Black, a senior law lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, revealed he often hosts digital lectures to students with cameras turned off.

'This was almost just as depressing, teaching to unresponsive blank screens on Zoom,' he replied to Professor Slapeta's post.

The response to the image was mixed, with some suggesting universities and lecturers will have to adapt to the results of modern technology, while others lamented the isolating effect.

'As someone who taught for over 25 years (high school and undergrad) I can honestly say I find this really upsetting. Teaching is social, and there is nothing like building knowledge together with students in a room,' another professor at QUT replied.

'We are in a global pandemic. Why is it surprising to anyone that people don't want to risk serious illness to do something that can be done remotely?' astrophysicist Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith said.

Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson, a Senior Lecturer in Australian History at Sydney University, thought the picture showed the problems with modern learning.

'This shows that the current way of approaching hybrid teaching isn't working. We need a rethink,' she said.

'Lectures are a vital part of university life and can provide transformative moments in students' education. We need to value them. The current model does not.'

A PhD student claimed the lecture dynamic was wrong and the lack of discussion and debate was also a factor causing lack of attendance.

'Lecture theatre design is outdated! Look how the space is arranged. It implies that only you have something worthwhile to say.

'In my opinion, the design of learning spaces impacts on how we view them. Students will show up not to be talked AT but to be in conversation WITH,' she replied.


Eccentric landlord posted a video to his TikTok channel last week claiming a group of women who rented out one of his homes had been racking up electricity bills charging their electric vehicle

'One of them turned up in a new Tesla Model 3. She told me she was saving the planet,' he said.

Tesla say its Model 3 costs between $25 and $30 to fully charge - but Ward maintains it was using more power than a 'small shopping centre'

The notorious money lender however believes the idea electric vehicles are helping the environment is 'bullsh*t'.

'They bullsh*t you telling you you're saving the planet but you're not. You're charging this car at night on fossil fuels,' he shouted on TikTok.

'Now it's okay if you don't work and you can charge it during the day with the solar panels, I have 83 solar panels on my roof, but during the day they were out driving, so the solar panels were absolutely useless.

Ward said Tesla's home battery alternative was no better, costing more than $15,000 to purchase in Australia, and it only holds 13kW of electricity.

'The whole thing is f*cking bullsh*t. They're scamming us. All these politicians have shares in renewables and batteries and lithium,' he lamented.


Australians, Americans ‘most divided over climate change’

Australians and Americans are more divided over the push to fight climate change than voters in any other developed nation, according to a new Pew Research survey which finds fear of climate change nevertheless tops a list of voter concerns around the world.

The gap between the share of “right” and “left” leaning voters, respectively, who said climate change was a “major threat” was highest in the US, followed by Australia, whose “left-leaning” voters were also more concerned about climate change than those anywhere else.

“In Australia, 91 per cent of those who place themselves on the left side of the political spectrum say climate change is a major threat, compared with only 47 per cent among those on the right,” Pew said, a 44 per centage point gap that turned out to be double that of the UK, and quadruple the gap in France.

In the US, 22 per cent of right leaning voters thought climate change was a major threat, compared to 85 per cent for those inclined to vote Democrat.

Israelis cared the least, overall, given only 52 per cent of those who voted left thought climate change was a major threat, and 37 per cent of those on the right.

“Despite the dire concerns about climate change in Europe, concerns are relatively muted in the US, as they have been for years,” the survey, published on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) in Washington, found.

Women and younger voters were consistently more likely to express concern about climate change across countries, the survey of over 24,500 adults in 19 nations, also revealed.

“In Australia, 85 per cent of those ages 18 to 29 say that climate change is a major threat, compared to 63 per cent of those 50 and older,” the survey, conducted from February to June this year, as a soaring summer heatwave and record energy prices engulfed Europe, concluded.

Pew asked respondents to compare five potential threats: climate change, cyber-attacks, the spread of online false information, the prospect of a recession, and the spread of infectious diseases.

A median of 75 per cent of respondents across the 19 nations said climate change was the biggest threat, followed by the spread of mis and disinformation.

A little over 60 per cent said the threat of disease was a major threat, the lowest among the five, and substantially lower than in 2020, when Covid-19 emerged as a global pandemic.

“Concerns about cyber-attacks, possibly heightened by the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and prominent instances of hacking across the world, are at all-time highs,” the authors said.


Business hails five-day Covid isolation ‘a game changer’

Business has hailed national cabinet’s decision to reduce mandatory Covid isolation requirements from seven days to five for people with no symptoms, declaring it a “game changer” that will help ­alleviate labour shortages.

Anthony Albanese, who labelling the move a “proportionate response at this point in the pan­demic”, also said masks would no longer be mandatory on domestic flights from September 9 – the same day the isolation changes take effect.

However, all workers in high-risk settings, including aged care and disability care, must still self-isolate for seven days.

Government sources confirmed if a person not in those settings has symptoms on day six and onwards, they should follow their state’s health advice.

“There aren’t mandated requirements for the flu or for a range of other illnesses that people suffer from,” the Prime Minister said. “What we want to do is to make sure that government responds to the changed circumstances. Covid is likely going to be around for a considerable period of time. And we need to respond appropriately to it based upon the weight of evidence.

“We had a discussion about people looking after each other, people looking after their own health,” he added.

Mr Albanese did not rule out extending pandemic leave payments worth up to $750, which are now jointly funded by the commonwealth and states. National cabinet is due to make a decision on the payments when it next meets in a fortnight.

The payments will reflect the five-day isolation rule from September 9, meaning they should be worth about $536.

Restaurant and Catering chief executive Belinda Clarke said that with the current staffing crisis, a reduction in isolation days would be a “game changer”.

“As we’ve continued to learn to live with Covid-19, we have to start becoming more flexible,” she told The Australian. “Other countries have had a five-day isolation period for months now, and this goes a long way to helping staff who are asymptomatic return to work and resume their lives.”

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the decision was “overdue and welcome”, stressing it was important for people to get back to work in a more timely manner as the pandemic passes its peak.




No comments: