Given the current circumstances, I’m going to be attempting to send out daily e-mails that include additional resources that folks might find valuable as we work our way through the next few weeks.
Please know that I don’t want anyone to get overwhelmed, so if these e-mail/resources end up raising your anxiety levels, you’re allowed to hit delete. I won’t be offended.
On the other hand, since I don’t have access to a campus-wide e-mail list (probably a good thing!), if you find something helpful in these e-mails, please share with colleagues in your department.
First, a few business matters:
- I’ll be starting virtual office hours next week. I’ll include the zoom link for each session in later e-mails. These sessions will be communal, meaning that folks from all over campus may end up in the zoom space at the same time. If you feel the need for individual consultations, let me know and I’ll do my best to find a time that works for both of us.
- I’m also happy to meet virtually with departments as a whole; I’ve already done this with a few departments that face particular challenges because of course content or standardized pedagogical practices in their fields.
- On a personal note, because my daughter returned from Germany on Saturday, my family and I are in quarantine until 28 March. As a result, I won’t be able to buy anyone coffee in a face-to-face meeting!
Finally, before I include a couple links, let me address the question of structuring classes synchronously or asynchronously, as this seems to be causing some consternation:
- In my e-mail yesterday, I encouraged an asynchronous approach whenever possible, recognizing that this would vary by department, course, and instructor personality.
- That advice is based on most of the chatter as reflected in the teaching and learning list-serves, blogs, etc.
- That said, some schools are not taking that approach.
- In the end, go with what works for you. If you choose a synchronized approach, do be sure to be flexible and understanding if students can’t make it to the meeting.
- Regardless of which approach you take, the key is that you pay attention to how well it is or isn’t working. If you find that it’s not working–for whatever reason — change. And if you change, be explicit to students about WHAT the changes are, and WHY. That WHY is crucial: students don’t feel a lot of agency right now, so sudden changes without explanation can feel frustrating or defeating.
Okay. A few online resources that I wanted to make available to folks, mostly having to do with keeping our sanity in these crazy time:
- A blogpost on keeping perspective during this challenging time: What Matters Most in the Age of Coronavirus?
- A key resource from the Chronicle on how to be an effective instructor when shifting online: How to Be a Better Online Teacher.
- And finally, a little humor from McSweeney’s: Welcome to Your Hastily Prepared Online College Course.
If you have feedback about this e-mail or advice about topics you’d like to see covered in the following weeks, please e-mail me directly.
Hang in there, folks! We’ll get through this together.