Michelle Lazarus

Deputy Head of Department (Education) Anatomy & Developmental Biology & Director, Centre for Human Anatomy Education, Monash University

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I’m working from – Our three-bedroom house in Melbourne, Australia. We call it the mullet because it is business in the front and party in the back. I added a VariDesk to my home office to make it more comfortable.

I’ve come to appreciate – My home, my partner, and my dogs so much more. This is our first year in our own home, and we absolutely love it. We have a fantastic neighborhood.

Celebrating in isolation – We went a little “extra” for our birthdays, trying to make them special, and they were actually awesome. For mine, we picked up from our favorite restaurant, made a cake together, and danced. For my husband’s, we baked pizza from scratch, and a homemade pie. For each celebration, we dined in different parts of the house, to make it feel like we were going "out," and chose music to loosely match the food (Italian dinner music for pizza). Soon, we’ll celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary!

Online teaching – There are hundreds in my department and six in my lab. This semester, I have ~320 students, and that will double next semester. I interact with them on Zoom. They seem surprisingly satisfied – even though our WHOLE year is online.

My challenges & solutions – We teach with active learning, which requires student interaction around cases. Wanting to replicate that online, we chose a low-tech non-complicated version of Moodle discussion forums. Students seem to be loving it and it is creating a similar active learning environment we saw in person.

Adapting to COVID–19 – I have weekly COVID–19 meetings with staff, and Zoom drinks every three weeks. We use email to summarize critical communications throughout the week.

My research continues – My education research was always remote, and students are still participating. We use Zoom for interviews and focus groups.

TV time – I binge-watch TV murder mysteries, and that continues in isolation.

I’ve discovered – Sourdough baking – we are doing SO much home cooking and loving it!

I really miss – The things I miss don't surprise me. It’s the things I don't miss that do.

I don’t need – New clothes. However, PJs are half my laundry these days.

My lifesavers – ANZACA, Twitter.

I look forward to – I am enjoying this time. We are saving money, we have purpose, we have health and security. I am most looking forward to seeing how different the world is and how the world will move forward.

I’ve forgiven myself for – Not being perfect.