Hello, all:

About a dozen people sent me this video, so I’m going to begin today’s mailing with the humor part: if you haven’t seen this remake of “I Will Survive” yet, click on the link. As someone who loves music and has a foot in both creative writing and instructional development, I must say I’m impressed with how this guy puts it all together.

Beyond that, I’d like to focus today’s mailings on a few fairly easy first steps you can take as you re-establish both your course and your relationship with your students.

  • This first idea comes from a colleague in journalism, who adapted it from a colleague in philosophy, who adapted it from . . . well, you get the idea. The concept is a simple survey that you can send to your students to: a) establish an online relationship; and b) determine the logistical needs of your student cohort. I’ve attached the survey above (titled “Student Survey”). If you use it, you should, of course, freely adapt to fit your field, your course, and your personality/persona as an instructor.
  • Along a similar vein, one of the links I included yesterday has an excellent example of an introductory video you can make for your course, wherein you break the ice by showing students your workspace, talking about the framing of the course, and essentially establishing a digital rapport. If you go to this link and scroll down to right below where it says “Welcome Students,” you’ll see this video, made by Michael Wesch. One notable step Wesch takes: he asks students to make their own introductory videos and share them with the class as a means of establishing/reestablishing community.
  • Next, if you’re making videos for your course, I’m including tips passed along to Hugo Blunch in economics. These tips come to Hugo from a co-author who regularly teaches online courses at Seattle University. I’ve included them above in a PDF.
  • Finally, simply an observation: many colleagues are familiarizing themselves with Zoom by creating chats with friends, running sample classes with colleagues in their departments, and getting together for a virtual knitting club (that last one is for real!). This is a simple, low-risk way to get used to this software. Take fifteen minutes, set up a time with a friend, and give it a go.

Beyond that, continue to share ideas with your colleagues and with me. If you’re finding things that seem to work, let us all know!

Take care, friends,