• Andrew Robinson

Online Teaching: The Second Week

So here are a few thoughts about teaching my Physics 1007 course completely online.

Student interaction by email, forum discussion and in video office hours is significantly up compared to both Fall and Summer sessions.

I do miss the actual lectures, and the student interaction before, during, and after class. I suspect this missing classroom interaction is the driver for the increased email/communications traffic.

Big Blue Button, the video conferencing tool, is really quite good for most purposes. A tablet PC or something with a screen stylus input would be best, if you want to use the whiteboard.

Ideally, you need everything ready before you start. I did have all the lecture recording snippets done, but the online question banks still need pulling together. I have the resources, but they need organizing.


I started from a relatively good starting point. I had all the lectures in PowerPoint, and suitable question banks and problem sets. To put a typical course together, starting from that level is a month's work. If I teach a different course in September, I need to spend August setting it up. It would be nice if Carleton would pay for the extra labour, and start paying when I actually do the development work. (Yes, this is an unsubtle hint to Carleton management. Your contract instructors are overstretched and underpaid).

Allow some time for "debugging", such as rerecording video snippets, rewriting online problems, and the like.

One hour Big Blue Button office hours are exhausting. Much more tiring than lectures or in-person office-hours. Plan your schedule accordingly.

Generally, it's going about as well as can reasonably be expected.


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