November 2020 round-up

Blimey, I am tired!

November is always a bit tricky for me, because of the lack of bright day light. However, this year I seem to be struggling a little bit more than usual. Though, it’s hardly surprising when you are living through a pandemic, and your other half had an emergency eye operation*, right?! 

I bought some vitamin supplements to help me through these few weeks; I have been trying to go to bed, early; and I borrowed some books from Brunel library to cheer me up. By this time next month, I hope to be able to report that I am feeling much better.

In November, I went back to the office for the first time since March. It was really nice to catch up with my colleagues, and to talk face to face with a new colleague who joined us while we were in lockdown. It was also an opportunity to pick up some books, check my mail, and so on. It was great… apart from the bit when I had to rush home because of the family emergency mentioned above.

I am still finding time blocking really helpful. The other helpful thing (in practical, as well as psychological terms) was to set up a “Lockdown writing hour” (Thursdays, 6-7 am, during the 4 weeks of Lockdown 2).

On the writing front, I wrapped the revisions for a paper, and sent it for copy-editing (one of the requirements from editor) ahead of resubmitting it. I also wrapped up a short paper about the explosion of personal data as a result of the Covid19 pandemic, and submitted it. Furthermore, I worked on a paper due in early December; and started working on another one due in January.

On the research front, I made movement on various projects. Data collection is ongoing on two projects. I applied with some colleagues for a small internal grant looking at the use of technology during the Covid19 pandemic (and we were awarded the funding – yay). And I started working on another small grant, also with colleagues – this time, from an external source. Finally, the podcast project is moving, too. Oh, and I did a talk at an international workshop about chatbots and voice assistants.

Teaching wise, the “main event” continues to be the Services Marketing module – teaching, mid-term exam, and organising guest speakers. I also continued to have dissertation meetings with MSc and MBA students; meetings with my PhD students; plus, personal tutoring meetings. This month, we also had a conference for our PhD students, and I was panellist in one of the sessions.

Furthermore, I wrote and submitted the final report related to the Techne online doctoral bootcamp that I delivered with Mark Carrigan. We also published a short article about it on the LSE Impact Blog. (I also volunteered to run a talk about this in our staff training day, later this year).

In addition to continuing with ongoing projects, and wrapping up “old” ones, I also had to prepare the study guide and the coursework briefs for module that I am teaching next semester (so that the materials can go through the quality control process, ahead of being released to students next February). Oh, and the MSc in Artificial Intelligence Strategy that I helped design has been approved… so, a lot more work ahead, to launch this new programme. If you want to join us, we will be taking students in January!

Ah! And, if you are interested in doing a PhD, we are offering one fully funded studentship.

On the admin front, I wrapped up the workload allocation, and sorted out contracts and time sheets for the graduate students helping us with the online delivery of our large modules. Also, we are recruiting a fixed term lecturer – here is the advert, if you would like to join us.

On the personal front, I had my first parents’ evening online. And… I did not dislike it! It was weird when the call just ended at the end of your allocated time. But, it also meant that the meetings did not over-run.

How do you reenergise when you are feeling really tired, but taking time off isn’t really an option?

*Luckily, it looks like the surgery was a success, and he is making a very good recovery.

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