It’s been three months since I defended my PhD thesis, and a lot has happened since then. My thesis corrections were approved, and I submitted the final version and concluded my PhD.
My contribution to a book
I’ve taken an exciting step in research. I was invited to contribute to an academic book as an editor, and have submitted my manuscript for one chapter of the book. My former supervisor is the main editor, and it was he who nominated me for the team. I am really humbled to be included in the project. My chapter is not a part of my PhD research, so over the last five months, I have been collecting a new data set, analysing it, and writing.
This is a massive commitment, and not easy to balance with teaching. But this opportunity has given me the direction of my future study, and a platform on which to collaborate with scholars in the same discipline. I feel extremely lucky to have been given the support to continue research in an area that I am passionate about. My manuscript is on the topic of empathy and compassion in telemedicine during the pandemic. I hope to write here soon about some aspects of what I found.
Challenges in digital teaching
I have been positive in managing the numerous challenges in delivering online teaching. In my case, some students live in the UK, some in Europe. We lose our internet connection sometimes. Sound quality varies. It’s not easy to facilitate discussions among students. Many students now turn on their videos, but not all, which is fine for me. Keeping them engaged is another challenge, and it is already difficult enough in face-to-face teaching.
Because we communicate with each other through only the visual and auditory senses in a virtual classroom, there can be a kind of numbness over whether or not we share understanding. I use Docs during class, as a doc file is much more compact than slides and it is easy to edit, highlight, colour, and draw while sharing the window. I use Jamboard sometimes. When checking students’ assignments, I am reassured that they have understood. This ‘trial and error’ takes extra time and effort, and what I can do is to think about what motivates students to go into ‘learning’ mode…