Online learning: Notes from Days 3 and 4

We did more problem-solving in the latter half of this week, still using zoom’s breakout rooms and whiteboards. In intro physics, I had 4 groups of 4 students, which seemed close to the limit of me being able to get around and be helpful. I really wish I could see the all the students’ whiteboards simultaneously without having to join their group. In general relativity, I had two groups of three students and that was easy to just hop back and forth. For both, Id like to have an easy way / work flow for students to bring their whiteboards back to whole class. It might also be that Online whiteboarding would benefit from explicit roles.

In intro physics, we also did more clicker questions with polling. There were some minor difficulties with polling, wherein some students couldn’t find the polling after a repoll. I don’t know what the issue was, but it would fix itself if the student left the meeting and came back. It would also get fixed when I stopped sharing and reshared. This makes me think it’s an issue when both polling and sharing are being used at the same time. Why for some students? Not sure. One student who uses Linux also has trouble with zoom, but that’s with whiteboards.

Things I like about online learning. 1. Back channel. I definitely have students who interact with me more because they can privately message me a question without interrupting or having to ask it publicly. 2. During clicker questions, students can also privately type to me their reasoning.

Things I don’t like: I don’t yet have a work flow for the “pair” part of think-pair-share. I may need to create pairs for chat, because breakout rooms seems to take too much time for a quick pair chat. This is similar in annoyance with how I can’t glance across the room and see all the whiteboards.

We decided that 1.5 hours is the max time we should do whole class. So I am doing 1 hour of open room / office hours , where students can work home work problems either alone or together, ask questions, etc; then 1.5 hours of mixed lecture, discussion, whiteboarding. Students are not required to be there for any of this, of course.

Online Learning: Notes from Day 2

We mostly practiced technology routines in zoom — polling for clicker questions, breakout rooms for discussion, sharing and annotating whiteboards. For that wen did just a small amount of review. Lots of time was given for students to ask questions and express concerns about structure and policies moving forward. Overall, Things worked smoothly. I was able to do a little one -on-one office hours after class. We will try a regular class with new material on Thursday. I still don’t quite know how well I can quickly assess what students are thinking and doing, but we shall see.

My back felt a lot better being propped up with a pillow behind me and sitting with better posture.

Nothing big to report. Students seemed happy to have some normalcy and social interaction. I need to follow up with students who weren’t there. Tomorrow, we do white-boarding in GR with some problems, so we will see how that goes, and that will be some good practice for me before doing it with my larger physics class.

Online Learning: Notes from Day 1

I held my general relativity course over zoom. It was mostly review lecture slides with clicker questions to break it up. We had a collaborative whiteboard set up as well. Everything went ok. Things were are little clumsy and awkward, as getting a feel for the flow and pacing will take time. There were only six of us, which made things easy to discuss and collaborate without having to use polling or breakout rooms.

The good thing is that all students showed up and technology worked. We debriefed at the end to talk about how it went and what changes we need. On Wednesday, we are doing collaborative problem-solving, so I’m curious how that will go. It was defiantly harder to get a feel for the class… I need to establish some useful and transparent learning routines.

My back didn’t like sitting that long. I may need to figure out a standing desk situation, or just get up frequently, or get a better chair.

Today, I am meeting with intro physics for the first time as a large group. I have had some small group or 1-to-1 soon meetings with about a quarter of my class, just informally as tests of technology and just checking in with students. Today is just a review day.

This is just to say

I’m here.

Wishing you all well.

Today, we start remote delivery of physics instruction. I’ll hopefully have more to say once I’m back in the mix with students and their learning.

Last week we had no classes and our family daycare was closed. Our home is too quiet without the hum of play.

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