Week of Jan. 4, 2021

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  • Vampire Diaries: And…we’re back. As per usual, I slid into a vampire-style schedule over the holidays and so this week has been about trying to re-establish a non-vampire sleep schedule. I’m not alone in this.
  • The Holidays: were weird. Probably the worst part was very-rapid-no-contact-pick-up-and-drop-off of wrapped presents with a cherished cousin with whom I would normally have spent many hours hanging around in various kitchens and living rooms. Probably the best was having my parents close by and in my “household”/bubble, and being VERY unplugged from work – I did a stellar job of that. I did not much else, unless you count a staggering amount Netflix, which you probably should not. The brief psychological and symbolic boost of having 2020 be over has of course gone to hell since Jan. 6.
  • Trust Issues: My boss wrote this great article about working from home and how we shouldn’t go back to offices. Her closing call to action is “…for all decision-makers is to open up your thinking about your work environments and about whether your tightly held beliefs about human behaviour are true.” It IS about trust, isn’t it? I can’t believe people – those who CAN do their jobs from home – are being forced back to offices now, and CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE while in the office. It’s a terrible lack of confidence, creativity and leadership to keep doing things the old way when a new way is so CLEARLY needed for everyone’s sake. It also reminds me of another big current trust issue leading to terrible behaviour in our field: online proctoring using academic surveillance software like Proctorio. If you care about this issue you can donate to Ian Linkletter’s legal defence fund and there is a recording of the fundraiser Teach-In if you missed it, and you can catch the after show on with the always amazing Brenna and Brian.
  • Speaking of creepy surveillance, do you get those “daily briefing” emails from “Cortana” (Microsoft) now? The ones cheerfully reminding you that there’s an email you haven’t responded, to or a document someone else is working on that you might be interested in? I hate them so much, but I can’t unsubscribe because I have to remember they are happening. It has taken me too long to start caring about this kind of thing, honestly. Not great.
  • Planning, Budgeting and Reporting, oh my! It’s that time of year! I actually enjoy it, and I’m keen for ways to do it collaboratively, easily, and online. It’s harder than it sounds. I am trying to plan to do LESS this year, and leave room for the inevitable (hopefully good, but we never know) unknown thing to manifest.
  • Online, then what? Many of us will continue to operate fully online for most (or all) of this year, and then…there will come a time where we…what….???…. “return to…” (not normal, but you know…the office? campus? ). What can we be doing to prepare for that? I expect there will be a need for skillful, trauma-informed communication and mix-mode, extremely flexible design for all things (learning, working, meeting, etc) to meet the anxiety and stress in what used to be everyday things. This is one of the main things I find myself worrying about these days.

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