April 7, 2020
Good morning MDIBL,
While we are still worried by the many sick people in the epicenters of the epidemic, our attention is split as we begin to contemplate “what’s next”. Going back to normal will be a difficult road. Our world will not be the same as it was before COVID-19. We have no choice but to live with the virus, but the big question is how? There will be different solutions; a mix of measures. In Austria, the first European country with very strong preventive rules, smaller shops will reopen in two weeks’ time. However, everybody will be obliged to wear a mask when outside. In Germany, Home Depot and garden markets have already been re-opened but schools will be closed until mid-May.
What does the “time after” look like for MDIBL? How will it affect our programs?
We have started to think and talk about it. These are interesting times. Every crisis is a challenge and a chance to think about our structures and daily routine. A good example is our residential summer program — it is obvious that we need to be able to teach online. Colleges and universities around the country and worldwide are transitioning to online programs. On MDI, JAX and the College of the Atlantic are preparing for online courses. What will our courses look like? How can we make them special and representative of MDIBL? In discussion yesterday our Education team, I mentioned that it would be great to develop MDIBL signature seminars. We can learn from others and then develop our own style.
Perhaps I will teach our three summer students in the Haller lab online by discussing one exceptional manuscript during the week. On Sunday, I can send them the reading list to understand the problem, on Monday we discuss the introduction and try to understand the purpose of the study. Then they will read more and perhaps will have a second seminar with me during early evening. On Tuesday, we discuss the methods used. And so it goes — more reading leads to more questions and more discussion. On Wednesday, we discuss the results, talk about the findings, and make sure everybody understands the necessity of control experiments. We may even be able to discuss what “falsification” means in science. On Thursday, we may discuss critically the relevance of our finding for future science and on Friday we may discuss the translational aspects of the science. This sounds like fun and good education to me – we will make it work.
A time of crisis brings challenges but also opportunities. It certainly is a lot of work.