Week 1, Day 3: Your second day of the soft launch started out well if you caught a different viral sensation…

Day Three, Your second day of the soft launch started…keep the same.

Virtual handshake, high-five, fist bump, hug.

Thanks for checking out this new blog. I missed Day Two, sorry . . . I was at the pub. Just joshing; they are all closed. We did celebrate St. Paddy’s Day at my house, though. And, recent results from Ancestry.com confirm that my grandparents weren’t lying. My clan hails from Munster, and that also makes sense because I like the cheese of that very variety.

Your second day of the soft launch started out well if you caught a different viral sensation on YouTube with S&T Professor Mike Bruenig. His adaptation of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is pure awesomeness.

So, how is it going? The kids are home from school. Worse yet, my teenager claims that his teachers don’t want him to do anything from now until March 30. Don’t believe everything they say, right? I’ll be OK. It’ll be like winter break, a combination of quality time with board games, card games, Lego-building, forced reading, limited video-games, and nagging about chores and teeth brushing. Wish me luck.

In other news, here’s the pulse of the MU faculty with whom we’ve been chatting on Zoom. We are literally feeling every emotion. Stress, fear, gratitude, adrenaline surges, love, nostalgia, more stress. We miss our students. They miss us. We have discovered some pretty cool features in Zoom, Panopto, Flipgrid, and Canvas. Those who have past experience with online teaching and learning are coaching others. Special shout out to Bethany Stone in Biological Sciences and Steve Klien in Communications, who are our Faculty Fellows and going extra miles for colleagues everywhere. Others, many others, are helping, too. Thank goodness for these amazing colleagues.

Sadly, I received the first death notification from back home in New York. The passing of my sister’s friend’s dad who was an amazing person (over 65, FYI) has rattled a wide circle. He once walked from Tampa to New York and raised $56K for the Wounded Warrior project. With houses of worship closed, many of our rituals for grieving and celebrating the lives of our loved ones are turned upside. We are resilient, pursuing alternatives with social media and video-conferencing. Italy has turned to music. Others turn to visual art and literature. May I suggest that you check out Color Mizzou, by our own Curator’s Distinguished Teaching Professor, Deborah Huelsbergen in the School of Visual Arts? At a recent teaching conference, we experienced its immense stress-busting power.

I heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another that: Social Distancing is an unfortunate term. OK, it was our Provost. She is absolutely spot on that the term should have been Physical Distancing. We need to be at least as social as we were before this virus emanating-from-bats hijacked our campus and communities. So, in closing, comb your hair and use that webcam a few times a day. Seeing smiles and expressions from one another goes along way in managing some semblance of normal interpersonal feedback we all need as human beings.

Keep in touch. Let us know if the Teaching for Learning Center can do anything for you and/or your department. We are “in” – and scheduling consultations over Zoom. Reach us at: teaching@missouri.edu