You Can’t Always Get What You Want

My online “classroom”…before any students show up.

A few months ago I said it was “noble” that some were trying to recreate as exactly as possible in-person experiences online. Multiple weeks into the new semester, I no longer think this is noble. And anyone who is doing a “hybrid” by choice I truly do not understand. I think these moves of mimicking in-person experiences online and going hybrid are done predominantly out of denial. They are done out of fear of the unknown, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable (to the faculty). To be quaint, I just keep saying to myself “Bless their hearts.” To be more realistic, I have to laugh in order not to cry.

And I hope at the end of this you’re laughing too. Because you couldn’t make this stuff up. It’s hilarious if you can remove yourself, even for a few minutes, from the horror that it’s actually our reality. Continue reading

Posted in active learning, cheating, classroom design, classroom management, classroom response systems, inquiry-based learning, online homework systems | 1 Comment

Are You Ready For Some Football?

My first ever college football tickets. Go Dawgs!

Many of us, myself included, have it pretty easy. And so it’s been interesting to see what people’s “Corona/quarantine” breaking-points have been. For some, who I believe are VERY pampered, it came early: “I don’t know when I’m going to be able to travel internationally again! I had so many countries I wanted to visit this year.” Cry me a river.

For others, it was “All my favorite restaurants are closed!” to which I thought, “Whoa! You have way too much expendable income” slash “Learn to boil water.”

For others still (and now, we’re moving to friends outside academia), it was “The NBA playoffs were postponed.” [Though they’re on again as of the writing of this post, and though players make millions a year…having been to Disney World relatively recently thanks to math competitions, I can tell you it’d take at LEAST $500K to convince me to isolate myself indefinitely in ‘the Magic Kingdom.’]

I started my quarantine/isolation on March 9. It took almost six months for me to have a similar #firstworld breaking point.

My breaking point is college football, or lack thereof.

Continue reading

Posted in attracting math majors, conferences, networking, social aspects of math life, Social situations with students, work-life balance | Leave a comment

Video Killed the Radio Star

My new stylish shield.

It’s almost time to return to fall classes, such as they are. I feel very lucky to be where I am: my institution is not forcing us to teach in person if we do not want to. The students also are under much more control than at other universities; they all are undergoing a mandatory 14-day supervised quarantine after a tiered and staged arrival, and they all will be issued masks which they literally will be ordered to wear. I also am very lucky to have a decent personal supply of Clorox wipes, gloves, masks, and even a face shield.

Having said that, I made a very difficult decision not to teach in-person. Continue reading

Posted in classroom design, classroom management, Creativity, online homework systems, teaching, technology, technology for teaching | 2 Comments