Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I work in a research lab. We recently (before the pandemic) had some workers in to renovate and paint the walls. I recall one of them saying to the other "I can't believe how quiet it is in here." He wasn't wrong. Quiet is the order of the day in pretty much every facility I've visited. The 'passive social check-in' is usually only within one's research team, and occasionally in hallways. That's why someone thinks of this as frequent: "Most graduate students and postdoctoral fellows would typically 'see' their supervisor on a daily or at least weekly basis." Imagine. Once a week. Right now I'm working at home. It's still quiet, and I'm still part of a research lab. But (thanks to Zoom) I've had more and better meetings with remote colleagues. And (thanks to Slack) I have more ad hoc interactions in a day than I had in the previous year on site. It's not that scientists have lost their social check-in. They still exist, and are even more available., But you have to learn how to use the (admittedly simple) technology.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 26, 2023 01:15 a.m.

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