Perhaps you have taken up baking during the pandemic, as so many others have? What I have learned about sourdough over the last seven months is that it takes many weeks to curate a good sourdough starter and it takes at least three days to prepare the dough for baking a loaf: with stages for proofing, needing and sharping. It is not instant gratification, but the anticipation of the loaves coming out of the oven does mean that every morsel of that bread is treasured and savored.
Like the process of making homemade bread, I’ve invested many hours and many days into revamping my teaching practices this semester to support online learning. In doing so I’ve carefully thought about how I can share content, how I can encourage students to engage with course materials in meaningful ways, and how our in-class meetings can both clarify murky topics and also fortify important concepts. I’ve had moments where everything went right and the students rose to the occasion, and I’ve days where all of my planning fell flat as a frisbee. Analogies aside, this semester has truly caused me to re-do and re-think and re-learn in ways that I did not anticipate. None of us could have known or could have expected the day-after-day of watching state COVID dashboards and wondering when we might move from purple to red to orange, in the hopes of returning to an in-person teaching experience. Likewise, even the most tech-savvy among us have had to learn new ways of using digital platforms to support our students. Truly, this will be a semester that we will never forget.
And now, as we head into this new phased return to on-campus teaching, it’s my hope that you will carry all of these lessons learned from remote teaching along with you and that they will enliven your teaching practice. As you do so, here are a few resources that you might find helpful:
- Resources for hosting Learning Circles online (I especially like this question, “As you arrive onto our call today, what words would you use to describe where your head is? And where your heart is?”)
- Links to short tutorial videos about our HyFlex Prime classrooms (using PC, using laptop)
- Tips for Building an Inclusive Online Classroom
- An info sheet for Teaching HyFlex on our campus
- Anti-Racism Learning Opportunities from EDUCAUSE
And finally, when we have this semester behind us and we are able to eat with one another again, I look forward to sharing one of my handmade loaves with you and hearing about all you have learned from the challenges of 2020.