Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Multitasking Spreads Fear, Sadness… Work from Home Limits Innovation… Want to Be Resilient?

Multitasking Spreads Fear, Sadness

The constant interruptions that come with juggling several tasks at once can cause a tense work environment, according to new research.

Investigators from the University of Houston studied the faces of people who were multitasking and found that they showed more unhappiness than people who were not working on several projects simultaneously. When other staff saw the unhappy looks on their coworkers’ faces, that sadness and tension spread, the researchers found.

The unhappy reactions seem to be caused by the constant interruptions that occur when working on multiple tasks at the same time. This in turn causes stress. When stress is combined with the heavy mental load required for multitasking, the individual can experience fear while anticipating the next interruption. That fear translates into unhappiness.

The researchers examined workers who were told to write an essay. Some were regularly interrupted to answer e-mails, while a separate group answered e-mails at the beginning of their writing session. Those who replied to the correspondence in one batch remained neutral, while those experiencing the frequent interruptions showed sadness and anger.

From University of Houston

Work from Home Limits Innovation

Media buzz has suggested that many workers will continue to work from home even after the pandemic eases. However, a professor from Northwestern University suggests that working in the same location with co-workers is necessary for innovation. What’s more, the research indicates that only working in cities with populations over one million brings out this positive factor.

While telecommunicating may not hamper productivity, it is no friend to innovation, Prof. Hyejim Youn found. When people only connect digitally, coming up with new ideas and concepts is stymied. But when people physically interact, they benefit from brainstorming, bonding, and mentorship. That simply cannot happen when people experience “Zoom fatigue,” the research found. Humans crave social interaction, and without it, the collaboration that breeds innovation suffers.


Want to Be Resilient? 

Mental toughness—the ability to be resilient in the face of negativity—is a key marker for success. To develop resilience, take advice from people who have developed this desirable trait.

  1. Never wallow in self-pity. Instead, focus on the positive.
  2. Stand up for yourself by not giving people power over you.
  3. Accept change. Change is always difficult, but avoiding it prevents growth.
  4. Let go of things you cannot control. Control is an anxiety response. Better to accept what you have no power over.
  5. Don’t try to please everyone. If you judge yourself by what others think of you, you open yourself up to manipulation.
  6. Take calculated risks. Sure, you can lose, but without taking well-thought out risks, you can miss opportunities.
  7. Don’t dwell. The past is over and focusing on it can only drag you down.
  8. Fix what’s wrong. Mentally tough people don’t continue to make the same mistakes. They reflect on what they did wrong and don’t do it again.
  9. Celebrate others’ success. Feeling resentment means you’re focusing on someone else rather than your own path to success.
  10. Bounce back. Failure is unavoidable, but giving up is People succeed when they bounce back after a setback.

From Business Insider

Connecting to Students During the Pandemic… Nailing a Zoom Job Interview… Ancient Greeks Named What We’re Feeling Today

Connecting to Students During the Pandemic

The student-faculty connection is integral to learning, and some say using social media to reach out to students can bridge the gap as we all struggle through remote learning.

Here are some tips for reaching your students using social media.

  • Choose a platform to complement your usual communication modes. The best platforms allow students to follow you but do not require them to do so. Twitter and Instagram both meet this criterion.
  • Share your own coping strategies and experiences regularly, essentially modeling for students how to live in the coronavirus world.
  • Engage students by using polls, questions, and quizzes they can respond to.
  • Promote your institution to help students feel a part of their college. Tell students what’s going on behind the scenes to provide them with a valuable educational experience.
  • Tout student successes as steps towards admission into a graduate program or attainment of a job or internship.

From Faculty Focus

Nailing a Zoom Job Interview

With many organizations not operating in their bricks-and-mortar locations, Zoom job interviews have become the norm. A Zoom interview is much like a face-to-face interview, but be aware of unique-to-video considerations before logging on with a potential employer.

Familiarize yourself with the platform prior to the meeting. To prepare for potential technological challenges, be familiar with whichever platform the employer is using for the video interview. Ensure that your device is updated and ready to avoid last-minute glitches and delays.

Dress for success. Dress as you would if you were going for an in-person interview. Yes, that includes dress pants or a skirt and shoes. Stay away from stripes or prints, dangling or metallic jewelry, and glasses, all of which may reflect light in a way that makes looking at you difficult.

Don’t be too early. With in-person interviews, it’s always a good idea to be at the location fifteen minutes early. Not so on a Zoom interview. Be ready to log in, but don’t do so until shortly before the set time.

Consider the background your audience will see. Avoid distracting backgrounds such as bookcases, awards, art, and anything unusual to ensure the focus is on you, not your décor. Never use overhead lighting; any light should come from behind the monitor and be diffuse. Focus the camera so that you are seen from mid-chest up.

Be alert. Body language is especially important during online interviews. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer and sit up straight. Practice active listening and take notes. Use your head and hands for gestures, and don’t be stingy with smiles.

Of course, prepare, prepare, prepare. Research the company just as you would if you were visiting its offices. Nothing can turn off a hiring manager more than not showing interest in the organization.

From Los Angeles Times

Ancient Greeks Named What We’re Feeling Today

Listless? Unmotivated? Bored? Fearful? Turns out we’re not the only era suffering from a panoply of woes. The ancient Greeks even had a word for it—acedia (uh-see-dee-uh).

After months and months of corona-induced fatigue, Zoom parties have lost their novelty. We’ve all seen too many posts of home-made bread. And while working from home in jammies may have been fun for a few weeks, those Covid-19 pounds are most decidedly not fun at all.

So it stands to reason that we are feeling acedia, another word for being in a funk, unable to complete tasks, or feeling hopeless and trapped. So why bother with a new word for what we already know we feel? Because according to experts, putting a name to an emotion helps us deal with it.

Next time you find yourself dreaming of going out for drinks with friends, hugging it out, or not thinking twice before jumping on a plane, remember you’re feeling acedia, and it’s part of the human condition.











Top 10 Tips for Teaching Online… Creating Inclusive Classrooms… Gender Stereotypes Hamper Women’s Confidence

Top 10 Tips for Teaching Online

Whether the Fall term is your first time teaching remotely or a repeat from the Spring, these reminders can help you create meaningful experiences for students.

  1. Use a break-the-ice activity to foster camaraderie early in the semester. A scavenger hunt/quiz about the syllabus is a great way for students to familiarize themselves with the demands of the class and meet their classmates.
  2. Greet students personally as they enter Zoom class sessions and when calling on individuals during class.
  3. Organize your course website so that readings, assignments, tests, and due dates are clear.
  4. Be professional and precise by checking links to ensure they are functional and eliminating typos and misspellings.
  5. Respond to student requests promptly and always use a kind tone of voice.
  6. Put students into learning groups that break out during class for discussions or teamwork and for peer support outside of class.
  7. Consider using a variety of media to communicate with students. Instead of sending an e-mail, try a short video or audio recording.
  8. Make yourself available during regularly scheduled Zoom office hours as well as before and after class, if possible.
  9. Contact students who disappear to encourage retention.
  10. Tie assignments, activities, and tests to learning outcomes.

Finally, know things will go wrong. Rely on your inherent passion for your subject when technical or other difficulties appear, and be kind to yourself.

From Faculty Focus

Creating Inclusive Classrooms

Equity in learning has become a buzzword in reaction to the unequal distribution of computers and highspeed internet access among various populations. But instructors at the University of Saint Joseph and Lafayette College developed a tool to help mitigate this situation.

They created a form called Who’s in Class?that allowed students to anonymously and voluntarily provide their instructors with information about their learning situation. Topics on the form included students’ status as first-generation college attendees, access to technology, outside obligations, demographic data, and disability issues. The form also allowed students to give their instructors information about other concerns that could affect their success in the class.

After receiving the forms, instructors finetuned their courses to adapt to what they learned about their students. When they realized not all students knew about available instructional support or had prior knowledge of course content, instructors addressed the situation. They also developed classroom guidelines with the students instead of for the students. Student reactions to the form at the end of the course included almost entirely positive comments, demonstrating that students felt that everyone mattered in the class and that the instructor made an effort to get to know each individual.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education

Gender Stereotypes Hamper Women’s Confidence

It’s well-known that women comprise over half the workforce and complete nearly 60 percent of advanced degrees but still earn less and obtain fewer leadership roles, especially in finance and technology.

Labor economists have found that part of this problem occurs from “occupational sorting,” by which men choose careers that net higher paychecks. Now new research from Harvard suggests that women may avoid these higher-paying careers due to gender stereotyping—the notion that men are inherently better in fields such as technology, math, and science.

But lack of confidence is the real enemy. Even high-achieving women in STEM fields lack the confidence that could advance their careers, the researchers found. They suggest that to maximize performance from females in male-dominated fields, leaders should give more recognition for women’s contributions.

Still, many women in STEM fields describe rampant discrimination and hostile work environments. Simple recognition for accomplishment for actual achievements, as the research proposes, is not enough to women in these areas to succeed at the same rate as men.

From Harvard Business School Working Knowledge