In December 2020, branch officers undertook a survey of members in order to assess the impact of the transition towards blended learning on staff workload. Taking into account both qualitative and quantitative data from both professional services and academic members of staff, officers then compiled an analytical report and eight recommendations for the University to address that would help alleviate the increased burned on staff.
You can read the workload report here.
The recommendations were as follows:
1. Revise, if not remove, added activities and asynchronous lectures from teaching requirements entirely, and ensure that all teaching move towards synchronous, timetabled lectures (unless requested by convenors).
2. Clarify how staff will be paid for the extra hours they have worked since the transition to blended learning, or how much TOIL they will receive.
a) In particular, guarantee that all extra time which has been put into teaching by members who are not on GTA contracts will be financially remunerated. Those who are on a GTA contract and who put in extra time should be offered the choice of either, i) direct financial remuneration or, ii) the equivalent time deducted from their required teaching time for the rest of their contract.
3. Clearly commit to the suspension of any redundancies, whether compulsory or in any other way stemming from Organising for Success, in order to prevent conditions worsening.
4. Commit resources to a concerted and comprehensive investigation of the added workload pressures and accompanying negative health consequences created by the Organising for Success initiative.9
5. Commission a report to discern the impact of additional workload on workers in equalities communities, and then carry out the report’s recommendations.
6. Consult with junior members of staff directly—and without records of identifying information being kept—in order to determine suitable best practice for their teaching.
7. Signpost more clearly the IT equipment loan facilities and commission a use-case analysis in order to determine whether or not the equipment available is sufficient for the tasks required of it.
8. Ensure that the software used to facilitate online and blended learning is fit for use and has 100% uptime.
a) Ensure staff have platforms that guarantee students cannot cheat during tests, whilst linking test questions to TurnItIn so plagiarism can be detected.
b) Distribute easy-to-follow tips on how to maintain computers for optimal working efficiency/speed.