T-minus four days to online teaching

I have punted on Microsoft Teams and am now recording my lectures in Zoom, recording locally to my computer and them uploading them to the storage space in Stream. After failing to record the window I had shared several times, this morning my Teams recording didn’t even capture video of my face – it was 20 minutes of me talking over a static image of a circle with an “AH” in it. From what I can see of others talking online, all of these services are getting overwhelmed with the number of people using them.

We got the notice that we’re not just online as of Monday, but we’re blocked from being on campus after tomorrow. Course planning was interrupted by a trip to my office this evening to do a final pass for anything I might need for the rest of the semester, as well as clearing out all food. Half my department was there and we had an impromptu “department meeting”, yelled from opposite sides of the building.

I had my first on-line committee meeting today in Teams. Technologically, it didn’t go great. One person couldn’t get audio to work at all and the rest of us had some pretty bad audio feedback. And it’s disorienting when people’s heads pop in and out depending on who has spoken most recently – it makes it hard to tell if the people not shown front and center have left or have just been quiet recently. We managed to settle in and get some work done, but the first ten minutes at least were rough. I’m keeping this in mind as good expectation-setting for any attempt at an online conversation with more than three people total.

I’m have more preparation to do over the next three days, but I have at least hit a point where I have a sense what the shape of my teaching will look like. Now I have to put my head down and push out some content. I’m in pretty heavy denial that I’ll be doing all of this and back at grading as well soon, especially since I have always, always graded on paper with a pen and dread the move to electronic grading. Perhaps I should have dragged my scanner home from my office while I was there.

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