We are under attack! Well, at least at my university we are. A cyber attack that is. As a result, all our IT systems are down and there is widespread disruption. Coming in the middle of a pandemic (yes, I said “middle”), it is certainly creating quite a lot of stress. People have enough to deal with, what with having to avoid the possibility of contracting a debilitating illness from all those maybe-vaccinated-maybe-not-vaccinated folks milling around campus.
And now this.
One major consequence is that all our usual online platforms — a critical part of teaching those students who need to attend remotely — are unavailable. Usually I live-stream my classes as they happen, so that students can tune in from home. I see this as an essential part of my role as an educator. It has been quite an eye-opener to discover the sheer number of students who must avoid campus for Covid-related reasons. These are students who are literally endangered by what seems to be a widespread corporate fetish for “in-person” teaching and purportedly “meaningful” on-campus experiences.
I’m sorry if my ability to engage in interpersonal contact via the internet (gasp!) is letting the side down, but, frankly, those students who cannot come to class for Covid reasons are as deserving of my time and effort as everyone else. In fact, given the university system’s historic role in compounding social disadvantage and perpetuating marginalisation, you could argue that these students are possibly more deserving. It behoves us as educators to identify all those who face barriers to educational mobility, and to focus our attention on removing those barriers.
Call me new-fashioned, but in my view the internet is the future. I, for one, welcome our new digital age. I don’t care where you are, if you are online you can attend my class, outage or no outage. Our systems may be down, but the rest of the internet is still there. Perhaps we should learn to use it.
I guess all this is just a roundabout way of saying something very simple: I had class today, I couldn’t live-stream it or record it using the university’s system, so I did it myself and am posting it here:
The title speaks for itself: Is psychology a science, question mark. (Spoiler alert: the answer is ‘Yes’).
For anyone interested, cyber attack or not, I plan to post lots more class content to a special page elsewhere on this blog. You can check it all out here as the semester unfolds.
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.