Monday, April 06, 2020

Back in Session

After suspending our semester (which starts later than most), we're back in session today.

I spent a bunch of time sending emails to all my students yesterday detailing exactly where they are in terms of their course grade as of the suspension, having graded all the things handed in then.

We've been advised to go totally asynchronous, given how many of our students live in rural areas with uncertain internet or live in households with uncertain computer access at a given time.  If another sibling has a class meeting that has to take place, then better not to put that pressure on our students, and hope they can get things done at other times. 

So, I've tried to imagine what I'd want to communicate about a work to students, and tried to think of how to best do that on line, and that's what I've done.  It means I've basically done all the reading and prep for six weeks of work in three weeks, along with some grading. 

In a face to face class, I do short bits of information, and then tend to have longer times when I'm asking students to read and think, draw, write, discuss, and then share out, so that they learn to read and discover for themselves what's important in the reading.  In those cases, I'm trying to be more like a guide who focuses folks on where to look and helps them see something for themselves.  My goal is to help students learn skills in reading, in learning to identify what's important, and in learning to tease out how metaphors and  such work.

I'll give students passages to look at in groups, say four passages, 8 groups, 2 groups on each passage.  They'll get time, I'll wander around, try to guide them, and then we come back together and they tell each other what they've come up with, and I try to reinforce it.  My difficulty figuring this out on line stems from not knowing how to divide students into groups looking at different passages, and not knowing how to have students report out from groups, and not knowing how to get everyone else to read the reporting out part.

I've got two of my three courses totally up for the rest of the semester, and the third up through May 7.  I'm trying to finish that up by tomorrow, and start grading midterms that they're starting to turn in. 

My guess is that I'll feel less stressed and anxious as students show that they can get through the on line stuffs.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how to do effective group work asynchronously either. I've been using breakout rooms in Zoom to good effect, but students have to all be signed on at the same time. That seems to work okay here but I realize it's not optimal everywhere.