This issue of The Teaching Hub is all about how, though we are apart, we are all in this together. In some ways, now that we are digital people, we are even closer than before. After all, we are available to be in each other’s space at the click of a link! And we’re taking advantage of that, big time. So let’s head through the regular Teaching Hub categories to get a sense of how things are going and just how the heck we are keeping the learning going.
Teaching Tips & More!
A Pedagogy of Poultry
Our personal and professional spaces have become one for the time being. Our simple advice is to embrace that a little bit. People are isolated, and a little glimpse into the lives of those on the other side of the screen will help to humanize the experience. Case in point: Professor David Vasey brought Butterball the Chicken to meet us in one of the Webex practice rooms, and it was the absolute highlight of an otherwise exhausting week. So, go ahead and introduce your chickens, show off your Lego collections, play your guitar, or otherwise share a little bit of yourselves with your students and maybe learn a bit more about them, too. You may even get re-tweeted by the official Webex Twitter account. Does it get any better than that? Yes it does, but hey, it’s something.
Using the technology without it using us.
In the last issue of The Teaching Hub, we set out some suggestions for how to prepare to teach online in a hurry. Things have moved rather quickly since then, and we are hoping that some of you would be up for sharing an update with us. Whether you’re using Webex, Teams, D2L, email, or Morse code (or probably some kind of combo package), we’d love to know how things are going. We’d also love to hear your voice and see your face. To that end, we’d like to try Flipgrid to collect short video responses. If you’re willing, head to this link (password is TeachingHub), and click the green + button to record a short video telling us about your instructional continuity plan and how it is going (some prompts are provided below). Hope to see you there!
Helping you navigate the inner workings of the college
This section is reserved for various college departments to report in on what they can do to help the academic experience go smoothly. Who better to hear from in that regard right now than ITS? Here’s a brief report from Barry Knight, Manager ITS Customer Service:
“ITS is encouraged by the transition that faculty and students have made to online classroom delivery. While we’ve had a few hiccups along the way and appreciate everyone’s patience as we all adjust to the new environment, only a few issues have come up. Last week the college hosted 4153 Webex meetings with only 99 ITS Service tickets created. ITS will continue to work with LDS to identify and evaluate additional tools to support online program delivery both in the short term and on an ongoing basis. Faculty and students can still reach our support line by calling 705-749-5530 x4111 Opt #1 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We are staffed Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm. The ITS team is set up to take your calls and triage most issues remotely.”
We are pretty sure there has been absolutely heroic and epic behind-the-scenes work done by ITS to keep things going. Bravo IT, and keep it up!
Stuff to tell your students!
We are absolutely not surprised to hear heart-warming reports of students acting as impromptu tech support in Webex sessions and elsewhere. No one signed up for this, and seeing everyone pitch in to help is what keeps us going.
That being said, we are in the thick of things now and we should make sure that we let our students know what’s out there for support. See the list below for a taste of what supports are out there:
- IT Support for help with tech issues;
- Library for help with research and much, much more ;
- Tutoring for help with course work;
- Learning Strategy Advisors for help with study skills;
- Accessible Education Services for help with accessibility and accommodations; and
- Counselling for help with all the other stuff in life.
The list goes on and on. Everyone is doing their all to help. Please make sure to remind students that all of these resources and more can be found here: https://flemingcollege.ca/covid19/students
Make sure they know we are there for them.
Keeping it Professional
Professional Learning Opportunities
We don’t know about you, but we’re a little overwhelmed with the reams of resources being shared to help us keep the learning going online. Much of it is excellent, but you can have too much of a good thing. Being told there is a six-week online course to prepare you for teaching online, unless it comes with a time machine, does not help us too much right here, right now. So, for “PD” at this time, what we offer you is a listening ear. The Learning Design & Support Team is maintaining a weekly schedule of access to our rooms where we await you. Come on in and let us know what’s going on and we will help as best as we can!
Finally, we’ll leave you with a nice little read suggested in the Virtual Teacher’s Lounge by Tanya Pye: Why You Should Ignore All That Corona Virus-Inspired Productivity Pressure.