Getting Back in the Groove

And we’re back… sorta.

Before we left for Spring Break, we were supposed to come back on April 12. As you all know, we’re now online until the end of the term. So, our 3-week plan turned into a full 5-week + end of the semester plan.

In case you missed it, before the break, our esteemed CODFA president sent us all a little message on how to rethink our classes. Here it is again.

The extension of the campus closure all the way to the end of the semester probably means we all had to make further adjustments as we moved from temporary measures to complete last thirds of the term. This means that all this reexamining of where we are and how we proceed in order to complete the delivery of our course outcomes also has to be communicated with students.

Or to use my usual metaphor, the destination is still the same, but we have to take a different route than anticipated to get there. That map has to be conveyed with students.

So, this is what I did for my classes. I am not presenting this as THE way to go about it. The first item is a “where we are” kinda thing. Picking up where Shannon left off, the idea is to remind students of all the work we already did in the first 10 weeks of the course and where that fits within the larger course structure. Then, the second idea is to lay out what is left to do.

Below is the non-quizzed version of a video I used with Yuja and to which I added a little quiz, to make sure that everybody understands where we are and what topics we’ll cover in the next five week. Yes, these topics were already listed in the syllabus but it does not hurt to repeat a bit, with an Inception-ish soundtrack for good measure.

That is the overall picture. That is the overall “sorry, the route to our destination has gone kaboom, so we have to find another one but we still have work to do”.

And then, below is a video of the changes I have made in Blackboard to streamline the structure and content of the course in the absence of face-face sessions. Basically, this is me showing the detour on a map, to pursue my analogy.

I should note that this was accompanied by a fairly lengthy announcement sent to the entire class, listing what has changed in the class and what has not, in light of the closure extension to the end of the semester.

This was also posted in Yuja with a little quiz to check that everybody understands how to find what they need in Blackboard.

[Side note: it looks like I’m gonna be using the heck out of Yuja.]

Again, I am not saying this is the one and only right way to do things, but the return from Spring break while still on lockdown might be more chaotic than usual. We might not know what has happened in our students’ lives since campus closure. Things may have changed for them, more than they have for us, in terms of schedule, finances, mental health, etc. while the plans we made for a temporary closure have to be turned into permanent plans, maybe, even for Summer sessions.

So, I like the idea of providing extra road signs guidance as we finish what has been, at least for me, the weirdest term of my career.

As always, thanks for reading.

Christine