Zero Day: Online Teaching

Well, I survived, and my students survived, and I am now officially teaching online. I’m also left too exhausted to do much more than a bullet list of events and lessons learned: Every one of my students submitted the assignment due today (originally due last Monday when we returned from break). I am so proud of them and the effort they are putting in right at the start to be engaged. Since last time I installed Java, there is a new version out, and JavaFX doesn’t appear to be part of the install, so many students were unable to do … Continue reading Zero Day: Online Teaching

T-minus one day to online teaching

Today, I didn’t prepare any new material. I reviewed my plans. I thought through what needs to happen tomorrow – what I need to communicate to my students and what questions I should be prepared for. I thought through all my troubleshooting strategies for when Teams doesn’t work, people can’t find the chat, or Sakai crashes at 9:00 AM when we all log into it simultaneously. I’m happy with my decision to keep content focused on a small number of platforms, but tell students about other out-of-band ways to reach me so that if (when?) those platforms go down, I’m … Continue reading T-minus one day to online teaching

T-minus two days to online teaching

Today was Saturday so work on my courses was sandwiched between grocery shopping in the morning and cooking meals for the week in the evening (plus a big pot of spaghetti sauce to share with my family). It was an uneventful day in preparing for my classes, which is reassuring. The new piece I added in to my repertoire was a couple of videos capturing my problem solving process as I developed a few programs from start to finish. There was a lot of switching back and forth between the problem prompt, the editor, the compilation/run window, and the API … Continue reading T-minus two days to online teaching

T-minus three days to online teaching

Today, enough pieces clicked that I have a picture of what the rest of the semester will look like. One challenge to this transition is that one of my courses is a new offering. I had a plan for the course, but I didn’t have a bank of entirely complete materials to fall back on. But I got the detailed project document for the second half of the term done and posted with its deadlines set, and things are falling into place now that I have that as a framework. I’m still structuring my content around “class days” because it … Continue reading T-minus three days to online teaching

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 … Continue reading T-minus four days to online teaching

T-minus five days to online teaching

Back to a bullet list again today: Three videos recorded today, so the monotonically increasing trend continues! Actually recorded five videos today, but twice the screen capture failed and I ended up with a recording of me looking at the screen describing the code I am writing that you cannot see at all. Only accidentally added one of them to the class channel before catching it and deleting. I really have to do something about this typing noise thing because it seems to make my webcam drop out the audio track periodically. I have a bad feeling that I am … Continue reading T-minus five days to online teaching

T-minus six days to online teaching

Today was the day that things started to click a little. I had three online meetings including one with a student. I recorded and posted two new videos (up from my prior one-a-day pace). My bare bones list of the minimum I need done to get started is shrinking, and I’m hoping will be tied up tomorrow, and then I can focus on getting enough out ahead of things that I am not literally teaching day to day. I’m even starting to understand Teams a bit – including the fact that I’d probably understand Teams a lot more if I’d … Continue reading T-minus six days to online teaching

T-minus seven days to online teaching

Some lessons learned today in the project of taking my classes online: If you’re going to be screen capturing in a video lecture, do a very short test lecture first, flipping through all the windows you may show, to make sure you have your font sizes big enough to be legible. If you don’t you’ll end up re-recording a 20-minute live coding session. Don’t get too update if you have to re-record something. It will probably be better the second time through. In general try not to have 20 minute videos. Also, trust your students to forgive you if your … Continue reading T-minus seven days to online teaching

Making the Jump to Online Teaching

Like many (most?) faculty who started the spring term teaching in a face to face context, I’m finding myself suddenly figuring out how to move my classes mid-stream to a new format. Based on what my college provides, the major platforms I have available to me are Microsoft Teams and Sakai as my CMS. I’m discovering there are a lot of features in these tools I didn’t know about. I’m also discovering that they’re a bit complicated to learn how to use and I’m concerned about how well students will pick them up – particularly without someone able to help … Continue reading Making the Jump to Online Teaching

Teaching Goals for Spring 2020

The start of the spring semester is looming all too close (about 60 hours left to go), and the pressure is exacerbated by having spent the past two weeks in intensive committee service (it is, apparently, possible for five people to sit in the same room for six hours multiple days in a row and churn out productive work, but it is exhausting and your evenings are not productive) and having a new course launching this spring. I’m trying desperately to get my ducks in a row (note to self: perhaps duck sorting would be a good programming exercise…) but also … Continue reading Teaching Goals for Spring 2020