The largest technological and social experiment of our time

Over the past few weeks a lot of us have become, willingly or forced, the participants in the largest unplanned international experiment of our time. Some might even say that this particular experiment contains multiple sub-experiments that will feed the researchers across a very wide spectrum for years to come. It is also the largest (in scale)  telecommuting experiment ever attempted, again across multiple industries as well as social , educational and health-related activities.

There are of course already a large number of scientific papers on COVID-19 itself. But as a side effect, papers on all aspects related to confinement and social distancing are bound to increase many folds in the coming months and years. As a university professor, we had to complete the semester through tools like Zoom, Skype and Teams. While it does provide for a different relation with the students, I am sure we will learned in the next few weeks as we do the semester post-mortem that some aspects work nicely but others are less optimal. For example  hands-on, laboratory teaching is one of those major activity that cannot be fully replace to digital tools. For other teaching activities, we might find that the traditional approach we enforced before might not have been the best use of our time to ensure optimal uptake by the students.

 

As far as working away from the traditional office, there are already new publications popping up like this one: The freedom trap: digital nomads and the use of disciplining practices to manage work/leisure boundaries.

 

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