Week 2, Day 8: Spring “Shelter-In-Place” Break.

Week 2, Day 8: Spring “Shelter-In-Place” Break.

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

It’s neither Daytona Beach, nor a stay-cation because so many are working diligently to bring instruction online. Just this morning, fifteen faculty colleagues gathered to practice Panopto and other ed tech tools with Dr. Jonathan Cisco. Another dozen of us, joined Dr. Lydia Bentley’s session for Tips to Teach Inclusively Online. How many more are rethinking assignments, assessments, and recording lectures in those recommended 15-minute chunks so students with rudimentary internet service can still have access?

During this Spring “Shelter-In-Place” Break, you can register for meet-ups with colleagues and our team. We have sessions scheduled for each day the week, and you can find details via the Gateway. You’re more than welcome to pop in for partial sessions. We are all finding out about Zoom-room fatigue—the struggle is real.

What exactly can you use the “Gateway” for now, as well as later, when we are on the other side of the pandemic? Today, it offers faculty and staff a way to interact with the Teaching for Learning Center’s professional development offerings and resources. You can even request individual and small group consultations. With nearly 600 active users, we are delighted that the community is connecting with us through the tool. How do you become an active user? Just click here, and enter your MU Single Sign-On credentials, and you are in. Feel sad that you missed a past event? No worries, now you can access any videos and resource files that were associated with the event. We wanted a repository for folks with schedule conflicts and the like to give us all access anytime anywhere. These features are available now. For example, here is a link to great ideas for summative assessments in the online environment. (Once you are in, scroll down for “presentation materials,” and voila.)

This summer, many other divisions will be joining the Gateway, and it will begin functioning as a one-stop professional development hub. Imagine how convenient it will be to visit one website, use your MU single sign-on, and access the vast majority of courses, workshops, seminars, conferences and special events that are available to you—not just for teaching, but for all aspects of your professional career. While version 1.0 of the Gateway is a little clunky (with past events still being listed on the Events page, for example), version 2.0 is going to be greatly improved. As events conclude, they will sort themselves over to another page, and since many past events contain valuable videos, PDFs, slides, and more, the community will retain access to them long after the event concludes. Boy, do I hope we are all back to campus by the summer.

How is your home office set-up working out? Mine gets lots of light, and has a wonderful view of my neighborhood. Yet, it has one tragic flaw: the chair. Seventeen yoga poses later, this stiff neck and back still won’t quit. Wish me luck with assembly when the new ergonomic chair arrives. At least the stores still had chairs, and UPS is still delivering. To all the essential workers out there, we are so grateful for you. You are keeping society and families as comfortable and safe as possible. Thank you.

For all non-essential workers, if you need more motivation to up your social distancing practice, view The Washington Post’s simulation, “Why outbreaks like the  coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve.” (Shout out to Dr. Viji Sathy for tweeting the sim, and Graphics Reporter, Harry Stevens for making information beautiful). As Stevens so elegantly displays, “moderate” and “extensive” social distancing result in flattening the curve so that infected patients can receive the medical care they need to recover, while curbing/delaying the overall potential number of newly infected individuals. Watch the graphs in motion as they demonstrate what happens in the case of a “free for all,” where people move around and intermingle freely. It also enacts a “quarantine” scenario. The results defied my own prediction. In short, let’s all follow protocol and keep our physical distance. On the other hand, let’s close the social distance to help one another—and our students hang in there. This is temporary. We can and will prevail, and be the stronger for it.