Amidst the excellent advice and community spirit shown for the online pivot, it has also become apparent that non-specific, non-academic support is going to be valuable. I blogged before that with our GO-GN network we know that emotional support is as valuable as academic support. In a PhD it is as (if not more) important to find people who understand you, and what you are going through as it is to find advice on your chosen methodology.
For students and educators, as we go through this unprecedented global convulsion, this type of emotional support will be more valued. Not because it will help students stay on the course or get good grades, but because we’re people who need to stay rooted in our humanity.
So some things I’ve done, or am in the process of setting up:
- A WhatsApp group for our GO-GN members, just to chat about anything
- Weekly online meeting with colleagues
- A weekly drop in for students
I think it’s key for these drop in sessions to just be there. They don’t have to be about an academic topic. But you may want to have some prompts eg: Things you are doing now you’re at home that you have put off; Tips for keeping children occupied; Memes to make for the online pivot, etc.
I have also started listening to DS106Radio again. It’s great music, but also it is very comforting to hear Jim Groom broadcasting from his house in Trento, where they are in lockdown. By responding to twitter he creates a small global community and you feel less isolated. Not that everyone should listen to DS106, but starting your own internet radio may be a nice accompaniment to the apocalypse.