Saturday, March 21, 2020
COVID-19 dramatically changed the way we all experience life. Social distancing and quarantines require using technology for work and education. Most of us utilize technology regularly through email, word processors, databases, etc., but fully online working and education is not the norm. Everyone will need to adjust to a new normal.
The new normal requires new engagement methods and instruction. I downloaded a free trial of a program to create interactive online lectures because I worried zoom wouldn't engage large classes. However, my attempts will probably have flaws. Many instructors will use zoom, and students will learn the material. They will also probably make some mistakes. The reality is everyone, instructors and students, will make mistakes.
Most of us know mistakes will happen. We even say we will cut students some slack. Will we cut ourselves slack though? In the past week, I saw more emails on the ASP listserv about online tools, best practices, conference calls, etc. than any other given week. I am overjoyed that our community is willing to help each other reach our students. The amount of information though is overwhelming. In the constant drive to reach every student and be flawless in our instruction, we may have unleashed an overwhelming flood of information. The tools are limitless, and instruction is happening now. Some may try to accumulate and evaluate all the tools to pick what will work best. I am not sure if that is the best practice in this moment.
Right now, our students need us mentally ready to help them through a difficult situation. We tell students to stay mentally fresh throughout a semester and the bar exam. We need to take the same advice right now. No system or tool is going to be perfect. Find one that will accomplish your goals, and commit to that for the rest of the semester. Students don't expect any of us to be perfect or have all the answers right now. What they expect is someone to help and be available. I am not discouraging seeking information. I heard the conference call last week was amazing. Definitely pay attention to information. Just don't overindulge to the exclusion of other important mental health activities during this crisis. Being present and there for each other and our students will have the biggest impact on their education.
I hope everyone is safe and healthy.