GOOD ACADEMIC PRACTICES IN ONLINE MODE
The rules implemented on the Faculty of Social Sciences are to facilitate both working and studying in online mode. “The Rules and Regulations of Good Academic Practices of Working and Studying Remotely” helps to maintain an appropriate balance between private and professional spheres of life and implements good cooperation habits in the spirit of the academic community.
Working and studying remotely has become a necessity in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. This mode significantly reduces the risk of infection – it is estimated that even half of infections occur at the workplace. Other than that, it eliminates troublesome commuting, allows for more casual outfit and participating in classes from your own bed.
However, the specialists draw attention to the problems associated with functioning in such way. The lack of direct contact with other students and academics, difficulties in setting up a home office or a place for studying, home distractions, sense of isolation…. One of the main hardships faced by our students and academics is separating private from professional and student life. Therefore, maintaining one’s work-life balance is extremely difficult in this situation.
At the initiative of Dr Adam Mrozowicki, a professor of the University of Wrocław and a head of the Department of General Sociology at the Faculty of Social Sciences, “The Rules and Regulations of Good Academic Practices of Working and Studying Remotely” has been created. It was coordinated by Dr Olga Nowaczyk of the Department of the Sociology of Dispositional Groups, who is also a plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment. “Remote work has resulted in a loss of boundary between our private and working time. We stay incessantly connected to the Internet, but we lack good academic practices in operating in this mode. We decided that we should take care of ourselves and our working and studying habits. We need to take a bit of the pressure off ourselves in this difficult situation” says Dr Nowaczyk.
The set of rules and regulations has been consulted with students and university staff, which is why only the most important issues were included. A good academic practice is to not send emails during the night or during the weekend, therefore to not expect a reply for any emails sent during these hours. It is good manners to give your recipient an opportunity to refer to your email and an adequate time to respond, at least 24 hours. Checking writing assignments takes more time, hence the request to the students to bear in mind that works sent at 11 p.m. cannot be checked thoroughly for the following morning.
It was important for the students to set up breaks after each an hour and a half long course, which should take at least 15 minutes. It is also considerate to have a shorter break in the middle of the class. Breaks are also essential during meetings for the university staff, as much as the principle of participation in only one online meeting or a conference at the same time.
Students also liked the rule of making public the information about the time during a member of university staff is available. Academics have already started to implement this principle, the same for the one about sending emails after hours. “Since we introduced this set of rules, I get much less emails sent after 7 p.m.” says Dr Nowaczyk.
The Rules and Regulations does not forget about administrative staff and people working in libraries – one of the rules is to remember their working schedules and to not disturb them after hours.
It is also important to respect the rules regarding language communication. For Dr Nowaczyk, who is a plenipotentiary of Equal Treatment, it was necessary to include it. The rule says to not use stigmatisation nor discrimination language and to use feminine and gender-neutral forms in reference to names of occupied positions. “I wanted to emphasise mutual respect, courtesy in communication and lack of condescension. These are also good academic practices that make everything function better in the academic community,” says Dr Nowaczyk.
Dr Nowaczyk encourages such rules to be introduced also in other departments of the university. It is easier to implement these principals as voluntary practices, than drafting a normative act. The plenipotentiary says that it is important to determine the most bothersome issues connected with working and studying remotely among students and university staff. Let’s not forget that these rules were created in the spirit of communality. Scientists, students, administrative staff – we are all together in this difficult situation. And in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to take care of our working and studying habits, as much as to keep balance between what is professional and private. This will help all of us.
tłum: Justyna Szpytko Instytut Filologii Angielskiej.