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Chris Blattman
I liked this thread a lot, and I thought I’d add my own reflections after teaching on Zoom all spring. 1. It will be better than you all think. Revel in the luxury of low expectations!
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
2. I let students know that I was interested in hearing about and tailoring to their situation. I sent a quick survey to them a week before class asking about their availability, time zone, setups, stress levels, etc. (It was stress reducing for me too to have data.)
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
3. Week 2 or 3 I checked in with another survey for feedback on what was going well and what could improve, then I made a few adjustments.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
4. I started staying on for 20 minutes after class to answer questions. The students who wanted more of a relationship really appreciated this.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
5. I tried covering less per lecture. I forced myself to cut 25%. It was a better course. More coherent. Fewer digressions.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
6. I tried having more discussion. I sent them 2 questions in advance to think about as they read material. Then we discussed. Even in a class of 50, this was not so bad. Not great, but better than a continuous lecture.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
7. I asked people before the first class leave their video on. It wasn’t mandatory, but setting norms early helped 2/3 of students use video. Super helpful for creating a more intimate environment.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
8. At first, to make up for shorter lectures, I recorded material as video in advance. I don’t think they liked it. Boring to watch lectures. And way more work for me. It was far better to just cut 25%.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
9. I tried breakout sessions. The feedback I got is that students didn’t like them. Maybe they would have warmed up tot hem with time. I think they could be great. But people seemed to prefer large group discussions.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
10. I tried to normalize the weird environment. I introduced my kids. They met the foster guinea pigs. None of the equipment I bought (mic, lights) made a difference. The rest did. Students want a real person to interact with, and a lot want a relationship. Not tech.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
In the end it was surprisingly intimate. I still got to know many students. I think they learned a lot. To my shock, I got the best teaching evaluations of my career.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
I was extremely stressed about going online and delivering something great. I got really worked up about it the first weeks. In the end we all hit our stride. From week 4 it was easy.
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Chris Blattman Aug 24
Replying to @cblatts
So take it easy on yourself, focus most on showing your students you care about their learning, get feedback from them, adjust, and it will all be fine. Good luck!
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