These past few months of working from home, I’ve spent a significant amount of time gazing at the window view outside of my home office, which shows the orange tree in my yard as well as my vegetable garden beds and my chicken coop off in the far distance:

window view of garden boxes, orange trees, and some dry grass

The view has helped to offset the many other hours I’ve spent gazing at the “window” of my laptop computer!

Just the other day I came across an intriguing website called “Window Swap” that allows you to share window views from others around the world.  As I swiped through those views I thought of all the millions of people who’ve also spent the last few months of their lives indoors and looking at the view outside their windows. I suggest you scroll through a few of those windows yourself–it is fascinating stuff!

As I had windows on my mind, I was thinking about my students this fall, some of whom will be getting a new “view” as they relocate to Orange this next month and some who will be staying at home as they join fall classes. It made me wonder a lot about the challenges the students have faced over the spring and summer, and how I might best create a sense of community in our online class this fall. To start off with, I’ll share the Window Swap site with my students and then ask them to participate in their own “Window Swap” by sharing a view of their world/community into an introductory Canvas discussion thread.

I wonder if you are all thinking about how you will create a sense of community with your students as we start the semester?  Will you do an introductory discussion thread on Canvas? Or do you have another strategy for getting the students acquainted with each other?

I also wonder how you are each faring as you prepare for the uncertainties of Fall semester? Have you been “Hiking” with Canvas experts to get your courses ready? Have you been considering the student feedback from your Spring evaluations to determine what strategies worked well for remote learning? Or have you been pre-recording course lectures to share with your students? Or are you struggling to know where to start to be prepared for so much uncertainty?  For any of you, I would suggest a few ways you might consider getting help from some experts:

I wish you each the best as you prepare for Fall,

Jana Remy