Early Reflections on Fall Teaching

I’m on a 2/2 load (for non-academics, this means I teach two courses each semester). During the fall, one of my courses is always online so there is no change here. However, I’m also teaching my advanced qualitative methods course and thinking through how to design the course for multiple modalities occupied a better part of my summer.

I decided to teach my course in-person. I made this decision based on a few factors — we meet once a week, our class meets in the evenings, and I trust graduate students to stay home when they are sick (side note: I’ve been insisting that people stay home when they are sick for forever so I’m glad to see this become common practice. Health is important!). Plus teaching my course in-person gave me access to the classroom. I do not require the students to be in-person. They have three options: face-to-face, remote synchronous, or remote asynchronous. Modifying discussions and assignments to give students maximum benefit but also make sure no one feels left out took some maneuvering but it looks good in theory. We are only starting week 4 so I haven’t gathered tons of data yet. Two Wednesdays ago, my computer decided to restart, I had to borrow a student’s to use Zoom and I’m not sure the Zoom recording worked. But students extend me the same grace I extend to them–we all know there are going to be challenges.

I don’t particularly care for teaching in a mask and I dislike not having everyone in the same room. I’m frustrated that one of the more meaningful assignments in the class had to be scraped because the logistics of doing it online add a lot of burden to students (and I’m trying to limit that).

And I miss the before class/during break/after class spontaneous conversations. A lot of learning happened in those moments. But now everyone leaves the classroom and turns off Zoom without meandering.

I guess I’m adding “after class meandering” to the list of things COVID-19 has made me appreciate.

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