Thursday, 23 April 2020 09:55

Lockdown won’t stop learning at Massey

Written by  Peter Burke
Husband and wife team Lucy Birkett and Danny Donaghy will continue to teach their Massey University students via online from their Palmerston North home. Husband and wife team Lucy Birkett and Danny Donaghy will continue to teach their Massey University students via online from their Palmerston North home.

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown, staff at Massey University are busy preparing for the next semester – which will involve a lot of on-line teaching.

Two examples are husband and wife team, Massey professor of dairy production systems Danny Donaghy and Dr Lucy Burkitt – who is a senior research officer in the school of Agriculture and the Environment.

Peter Burke spoke to them about life in lockdown.

The couple are hunkered down with their three children in Palmerston North. 

They share an office, but when zoom calls come through, one or other has to relocate to another part of the house.

They have never worked in such close quarters before, but Donaghy says it’s working ok. 

He told Rural News that they set down strict times for work, but also schedule in coffee and tea breaks and slip out for a walk with their children.

“We try to start early and not let the day slip away and be distracted by the fine weather we have had recently,” he says.

For Donaghy, the lockdown has given him and other academic staff time to prepare on-line lectures for the next semester. Massey University is renowned for its expertise in distance education and the situation that has arisen with Covid-19 is having less of an impact on them as opposed to some other universities.

“We have strong platform to deliver online and have got some really good resources at Massey to allow us to deliver online material – so a lot of us are preparing to deliver when semester starts again. We have got some really good materials that allow is to upload short video’s and presentations.” 

Donaghy was actually delivering an online lecture at exactly the same time as the Prime Minister was announcing the lockdown. He says everyone became distracted by this and in the end, he called the lecture off until the next semester.

“After that, we rushed to work and grabbed extra computer screens so that we could have dual screens at home which makes it easier to shuffle data around,” he says.

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