Due to the government’s Covid-19 guidelines that higher education should be primarily online where possible, the vast majority of third-level institutions have moved online for not only this semester but the whole year.
University of Limerick (UL) has decided to move the majority of courses online “minimising on-campus activity to essential on-campus learning activities.”
This is affecting students who are feeling isolated and missing out on the college experience, but it is also affecting lecturers who are having to find new ways of adapting to work from home to make sure their classes still go ahead.
Professor Eoin Devereux from the Department of Sociology at UL is one of those lecturers who is working from home since the university went online.
“It [working from home] is challenging, it has made me re-think everything in terms of how I deliver content. I have tried to use it as an opportunity to learn new skills myself,” Professor Devereux said.
Like many students, lecturers are also missing the social aspect of being on-campus at college.
Prof Devereux said: “I really miss teaching in a classroom. There is an energy that comes from teaching live. It’s great to have discussions and debates with students, which brings a whole new and usually unplanned dimension to the class.”
“My teaching style is strongly performative, so I miss that aspect.”
“It is difficult for lecturers and students alike to strike a healthy work-life balance while working from home.”
“Remote working presents new challenges as many of us are busier than ever and the place you used to be able to relax has now become your place of work,” he added.
However, taking breaks away from work is important in maintaining the balance between work and home life, particularly at a time when many people are isolated away from others, according to Prof. Devereux.