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07/15/2020

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Zoomer

Marcus is absolutely correct: keep it simple. But I think you should not be too optimistic that this form of teaching is going away soon. It is worth investing enough time and energy into teaching effectively on such platforms as Zoom. The key is to learn the basic features on the system you are going to use. And keep lectures short. Use the discussion/chat forum. Stop, and allow the students to raise questions and answer each other in the chat function. Do everything you can to mimic the interactive nature of the real classroom.
If you can show you can teach in such a format, it may give you a clear advantage on the market in the next year (or so). That is just my prediction.

Prof L

Yes, I am also wondering about this. Our university has said things like, "WELL things were thrown together in the Spring, but in the fall you can expect super-duper fantastic PROFESSIONAL online courses!" and I'm just wondering what I could do to make it both "more professional" and better ... I'm coming up with a bit of a blank. Things went well in the transition, generally speaking, and students were fairly patient and understanding with the changes to the syllabus. But I don't know what our university is expecting us to do.

Derek Bowman

Prof L,

If your university made those promises, it is incumbent on them to provide you with the training and resources you need to follow through on it. Many universities have centers for "Teaching Excellence" or "Instructional Technology," or etc with resources for online and hybrid teaching.

Philosopher Harry Brighouse has provided a link to his school's guide to remote teaching, which he helped create: https://sites.google.com/wisc.edu/ls-remote-teaching-toolkit/

He also describes some good techniques he tried this past Spring here: https://crookedtimber.org/2020/05/13/reflections-on-moving-to-teaching-online/

Given all the things we say about the value of a liberal arts education in general, and philosophy in particular, one imagines that there ought to be all sorts of intelligent and creative thinkers to collaborate with in our departments and at our universities. If there aren't - or if the conditions of our work prevent us from learning from one another in those ways - that's a bigger indictment of the education we offer than any poorly run online class.

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