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Story Title: Virtually aware

Contributor Name: Geoff Clegg
Created: April 16, 2020 at 8:04 PM

Story: What are your experiences teaching & learning in the time of coronavirus?

I would say that the biggest shift I've had to made so far to my teaching is reduction. I've dropped assignments in different courses. (I'm not making students record, edit, and submit a 5-7 min presentation since they're now in other states or internationally.) Such an occurrence isn't because I'm lazy; rather, it's because I see my students mention that their professors in our other disciplines are injecting more work into their curriculum. Those courses are higher stakes and, often, not offered on a regular basis. If those students fail those classes, they're looking at a year added to graduation. Me? I can afford to lose a presentation or a final exam because I don't see the point of being hard just for hard sake. I don't need to overreact and assign them to virtually come to class every day either while knowing that many have jobs and family that need care. 

Maybe it's because I have been through this twice (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita) and witnessed long-term disruption firsthand. Maybe those experiences make me a bit more empathetic than others. The point being is that I'd rather students take their time and not rush my assignments because they're working in unfamiliar circumstances. Hell, three of my internationals have already made me aware that they just left their mandated quarantine after arriving back home. That's much scarier than a silly white paper topic that they wouldn't even have been able to start/complete. 

The point is: My teaching is still student-centered and adaptive to their needs instead of some misplaced obligation to rigor and outcomes. That shit can wait until we know where we are as people and how we can pick up the fragmented semester. I want my students to recover their sense of normalcy. That's more important than my virtual presence. 

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