Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Has it really been a month?

 Time expands and contracts at a different rate now, as I'm definitely not the first to notice. Here are some random bullets until I can write a real post:

  • We're teaching online (synchronously) and I am so far enjoying it. That's heresy, I know, but I feel much more relaxed with the students and much, I don't know, better and more connected to them. I asked the students whether they wanted recorded lectures or live ones, and they voted for live; in a humanities discipline, there's a lot of Q & A that goes on in the midst of a class, so it probably works better for this class. Not having a long commute is really helping, too. I'm really enjoying the students, and I love being able to show them books without having to lug them a long distance. I bought a document camera, and it's great for this. 
  • I had promised the students that I'd be on campus for in-person check-ins sometime, but our campus, like some others, is Covid Central right now, so maybe I'll postpone that. The powers that be don't want us on campus; they wisely want us to stay put, so who am I to argue? 
  • It still took many, many--too many--hours to scan, upload, and prepare the classes, like maybe 50+ hours over the course of a couple of weeks. That's without recording any lectures! 
  • But I did quit my admin job, as you all so wisely advised, or rather I let my contract run out though I'd thought about continuing. After spending pretty much all my time last spring and this summer on administration, it's a relief to take a deep breath. My colleagues were gracious about it, and I had definitely done enough and left things in good shape.
  • As if to fill up the void, let's see: family drama surrounding my mother's estate takes a fair chunk of my week every week, and having the landscape try to kill us with fire, deadly smoke, and of course the ever-present pestilence is really distracting. Let's not even talk about the political situation, which is terrifying.
  • I don't know how people are managing to write. I can barely keep up with the reading in the courses I'm teaching, and yes, I understand it's worse for the students and am cutting them all kinds of breaks. 
 Happy first day of fall!



gwinne said...

Good to hear from you!

Document camera is a really interesting idea. I'll think about how useful that would be. I've been retyping passages and dumping into power points... I'm also not doing recorded lecture. It's either text based or me yapping live. I learned from online training that I hated listening to or watching video instruction so why would I do that myself?!

Our campus is also COVID central. Despite this, I held "office hrs" in a garden. One student came, masked--and it was great seeing her eyes above her mask. Will do again as long as weather holds. (It also served as a stop to pick up mail in my office.)

Yay for quitting admin!! I am slowly extricating myself as well but it might require one more year before my junior (but now tenured) colleague is able to take it over.

Be well, Undine.

CG said...

I have been anti-online teaching for years, but now that I am doing it I am really liking it. I am probably still against asynchronous online teaching for my particular discipline with our particular students. But I'd estimate synchronous is about 95% as good as in person, and, like you, I now don't have to commute, so I'm not exhausted at the end of the day. Student attendance has also been better. So once we are able to go back in person I think I will try to keep doing it this way, or maybe every other week so they can see each other.

Leslie B. said...

Happy fall!

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Stopping by to say "hello" while I'm logged into my blogger i.d. and it's easy. Hello! I hope things are going well.

undine said...

Thank you, Gwinne, and be well! It's a great idea to hold office hours in a garden. I held office hours outside when I went to campus, but strangely, only one student wanted to stop by.

CG, welcome! That's the key--particular discipline and particular students. When teaching for our online division I can only teach asynchronously, but yes--better student attendance and no exhaustion from the commute are reasons to reconsider what we've been doing.

Happy fall, Leslie B!