Hello, colleagues:

This week’s e-mail will be mercifully short, but filled with some key information.

I know the uncertainty of the fall is frustrating. Will we be in the classroom or virtual? Will our students be virtual, face-to-face, or a blend of the two? How do we manage all of this without (further) exhausting ourselves?

It would make me very happy if I could offer all of you the perfect solution for your individual courses, but of course there isn’t one. That said, I do want to point you to some resources:

First of all, Helen MacDermott passed along the following tips for teaching courses with students BOTH in the room AND online. It’s a short but smart list, including my new favorite technique: “Tepid Calling.” You’ll have to read the article to find out what that’s all about.

Another useful piece on the concurrent or hyflex classroom comes from Derek Bruff, of Vanderbilt. Bruff breaks down a variety of options for engaging students in virtual and face-to-face configurations. Because he foresees issues with having in-class students engage online, he focuses on other methods, including polls, online written group-work, and back-channel conversations.

Second, for those of you who are more inclined to dive into the source material and develop your own methods, please give this essay by Sarah Rose Cavanagh a read. It provides a “syllabus” of summer reading for anyone exploring blended instruction. (Worth noting: the first book Cavanagh mentions–Flower Darby’s SMALL TEACHING ONLINE–is available in e-book form from our library!)

Finally, a few online conferences/workshop series are coming up in the next few weeks:

  • The Associated Colleges of the South has organized a series of online workshops aimed at advancing the particular pedagogies of liberal arts colleges in an age of uncertainty. Individual workshops cover a range of topics and disciplines, including teaching virtual or blended courses in language, mathematics, and STEM. These workshops start this week and extend through July.
  • Wiley (the publisher, not the coyote) is hosting a free online conference starting on 7 July. The speaker for the opening plenary isn’t half as funny as he thinks he is, but other than that, the conference provides an opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers in a variety of fields, about the challenges of teaching in virtual or blended environments.

Well, th-th-that’s all folks!

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

Be well, friends.