This blog is a collation of responses from prominent lecturers and staff from around
the Monash Science Faculty. To begin we would like to thank Ulrik Egede, Martin
Burd, Scott Findlay, Daniel Mathews, Nicholas Price and 2 other staff members for
making this article possible.
How their typical work day changed since the pandemic?
Majority of the respondents have moved to working from home and their face to face
interactions have now been replaced by zoom calls. Also laboratory activities have
How has teaching remotely been different from ‘usual’ teaching?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to remote teaching. Teaching
remotely requires a lot more preparation and is a lot more time consuming than
regular face to face classes. One of the biggest challenges is trying to find a virtual
substitute for hands on learning. Learning science through virtual means is a lot less
interactive, which in most cases limits students’ learning ability. However, some
students are finding it easier to ask questions via the zoom chat function than they
would in a large lecture theatre.
Modifications that have been made to research and their impacts.
For most academics conducting laboratory-based research, the pandemic meant a
complete halt of on-campus research. Some have changed to a different part of their
research that is more theory-based. A major drawback to research has been the lack
of discussions with fellow researchers and collaborators, or at least their decreased
Overall, the impacts to the research and respective fields of academics has not been
positive. It did, however, demonstrate that although lab-based research will always
need to be done on campus, some aspects of theoretical research can be done at
home with the same efficiency. Additionally, they are able to ‘attend’ international
seminars that were not previously accessible.
Will changes made to science during this time continue into the future?
Overall, the pandemic has proved that a large number of scientific tasks can be
conducted online – including teaching videos and even conferences. These may be
seen more frequently in the future. Additionally, flexibility in working hours was also
shown to be possible. However, face to face collaboration – whether in research or
applied classes – is overall more preferred in person.
In lab-based research however, being on campus is crucial and cannot be replaced.
It may take many years and considerable resources before such research can be
Advice for science students currently undertaking laboratories and general studies
- Especially during this time communication is the key, continue to ask
questions and engage with the content in zoom classes and on discussion
- You may be missing out on learning now but we are hoping to equip you to be
lifelong learners so what you might miss now you can learn in the future.
- Do what works for you during this situation. Do not worry about what others
are doing it is okay to just focus on yourself during these challenging times.
- Utilize your tutors although the setting might be different they are still here to
- Hang in there, this too shall pass.
Composed by Stacey Barbagallo, Israa Hameed and Matthew Wanford in
collaboration with Monash University’s Science Future Leaders Program 2020.