Headline, March 14 2021/ ''' '' TEACHERS STUDENTS TRUMPETS '' ''' : ZOOM



WE ARE ALL NOW PARTICIPANTS IN a forced experiment in mass online teaching. Many might go back with relief to in person teaching after the pandemic -

But it seems likely that some of the video conferencing benefits will remain, and that both teachers and students might want to be given a choice about how to mix online with face-to-face learning.

I AM NOW TEACHING ABOUT A HUNDRED undergraduate students in a class on the American war in Vietnam. If a lecture is only someone talking for an hour, than can indeed be stultifying on video - but that would also be true in a classroom,

Back in the live era, I did my best to animate my lecturers by roaming the lecture hall, memorizing the students names so I could call on them, encouraging questions and using PowerPoint slides replete with photos, historical quotations and clips of movies and documentaries.

Teachers who haven't done multimedia lectures might reasonably experience an extra burden of work preparing them for Zoom.

AS A COLLEGE PROFESSOR - I, TOO, miss some of the elements of teaching in a classroom, including the intellectual energy that can flow around seminar table-

The performance aspects of lecturing to a large audience and the little chats that take place by happenstance during breaks or after class with students.

What I don't miss is my 10-mile drive to campus and back. I don't miss pondering my wardrobe choices in the morning. The relative informality of the Zoom era means that I would feel overdressed if I wore a blazer to teach.

And if I don't wear a blazer, I don't have to wear slacks. Or put on shoes. Why would I wear shoes inside my house anyway?

More important, with my smaller graduate classes of 10 to 20 students, I have noticed little falloff in intellectual quality.

Looking at 10 to 20 faces on a screen is manageable, and the screen is pretty faithful replication of a real-world seminar. Breakout rooms for smaller discussions are simple to arrange, and they lack the cacophony of overheard conversations is live settings.

My teaching evaluations have been positive if a little less effusive than usual, perhaps because of the lack of human warmth that being face to face makes possible.

Videoconferencing also allows for meeting with far-flung participants elsewhere in the country - or in other countries - that would have been too expensive and environmentally wasteful to convene in the live era.

Now it's customary to have visitor call in from across the country or an ocean and to conduct seminars with colleagues from around the world. Less human warmth, but more human connection.

But multimedia lectures work easily and even better on Zoom. I no longer have to memorize students' names - their names are listed underneath their faces. 

And on Zoom, the students get a close-up of the photos and video clips, and with the lectures automatically recorded, they can review them or, if they miss a lecture, listen to them later.

Surprisingly, the discussions in my video classes have been better than those in the live era. I don't need to look out at a sea of hundred stone faces or a hundred black boxes.

Instead I ask half a dozen students to participate in a student panel for each lecture; I call on them and ask them questions through out the lecture, which means the class doesn't have to just listen to me all the time.

It turns lout that the students are much less shy speaking on video than they might be before a live audience. Less human warmth but less stage fright.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Times & Tides in Education , continues. The World Students Society thanks author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

With  respectful  dedication to the inventors of  Zoom, Schools, College, Universities of the world, and then Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers.

See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

''' Warmth - Wonder '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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