The role technical colleagues have played during the Covid-19 pandemic

Technical staff across the University have ensured staff and students have a safe environment in which to continue vital teaching and research activities.

chemistry technicians in a lab

Over the past year, technical colleagues at the University have played a critical role in ensuring that vital research and teaching was able to continue, supporting the institution and our wider community.

They have maintained research facilities across the campus, implemented social distancing measures and facilitated in-person teaching sessions for our students, giving them valuable practical experience.

They have been instrumental in finding innovative and exciting ways to ensure students experience a safe and welcoming learning environment which is greatly appreciated.

Jadeen Christie, Technical Tutor in Chemistry, is thrilled to see students back in her lab again: “We have had to think very differently about labs during lockdown three. We ended up running live demonstrations via Teams and developing pre-recorded content on Learn to support the live material.  It was wonderful to receive positive feedback from students who were incredibly appreciative of the work we put in to make those sessions more engaging. 

“Now they are back in the labs and are fully engaged. It is great to hear laughter again! They’ve also said how safe they feel with regards to the Covid-19 precautions we have put in place across the teaching facilities.”

In Semester 2, alongside their undergraduate teaching, technical colleagues had the challenge of accommodating project students within research labs and workshops across campus which were already under tight levels of occupancy. Through forging collaborative working practices with Doctoral Researchers, they were able to deliver student projects in a safe learning environment.

Materials Technician in the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering, Michael Graysmark, commented: “My main takeaway from this year is a sense of pride in my fellow colleagues. We’ve all had to adapt and learn new skills so we can maintain the best experience possible for students who have complied with our measures and engaged with our new delivery methods for which we are all grateful.”

As well as collaborating with academic colleagues, technical staff have worked with staff in Professional Services to aid preparations for the socially distanced return of students.

Members of the technical team in the School of Design and Creative Arts (SDCA) collaborated with Creative and Print Services to create safety and technical instructional videos on using equipment within workshops under the new guidelines, allowing students to make the most of their time within the workshop.  

Drew Mason, a Technical instructor in SDCA said: “It’s been great to see workshop and lab environments back in action and the students have clearly been pleased to get the chance to be back and physically make their prototypes.”

The University’s Strategic Scientific Technical Lead, Julie Turner added: “Technical colleagues have risen to the challenge of providing excellent in-person, practical teaching that delivers the required learning outcomes even with the current restrictions.

“Loughborough technicians always impress me with their ability to think outside the box. I’m very proud of the work they have delivered in what has been a hugely challenging year for everyone and I know many will wish to join me in saying a heartfelt thank you for everything they have done.”