COVID-19: Thank God for Zoom and MSTeams and adaptable, patient, students and external speakers

My module for MSc Biodiversity Consevation and Ecosystem Management started on 16th March – as the Universities shut down.

Was so looking forward to:

  • learning to make promotional videos
  • students taking us on guided tours of local Nature Reserves
  • external speakers ond Policy and Practice from NP AONB partnership, Natural History Society etc.
  • Trips to Hepple rewilding and Chillingham wild cattle
  • … was going to be my best module ever

But I know my problems of a thwarted module were nothing compared to many, so we girded our loins and got our thinking caps on and wrestled with technology:

Steve Lowe from Northumberland Rivers Trust came to talk to us in person about Northumberland Rivers – and crayfish
Our first technological Zoom success was Adam talking to us about Wildlife Licensing from his home to all of us at home – with students sending questions in on the chat
Actually, this was a different module – Hannah and I are running oral exams for 30 agric students. Huge success. Wish this was their final exam actually – so much better than written exams as you really get a feel for what student knows, can meet them exactly where they are at, give them immediate feedback, they can self-assess and it is practice for job interview . Written exams are not practice for anything – IMO. Recommend them as replacements for modules this summer.
Then I tried to do bird calls using MSTeams – not sure of its success, but we did get the audio to work and the chat to work

More next week

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