Keep It Simple

It’s overwhelming, the resources, the links, the technology, the acronyms, the expectations, this is all very overwhelming. I am one small voice but hear my whisper into the tsunami, “keep it simple.”

This is not the moment to “redesign education” as the memes and tweets say. This is not the moment to learn MOOCs and LMSs and lecture capture software.

This is our moment to pause. To reflect. To consider what’s important and just focus on that. To keep it simple. Determine first what you need to do – what absolutely must be in done in a global pandemic in order for your students to pass (consider your course pass/fail even if your university does not and do not grade/set inflexible due dates).

Have that in your mind? The most important outcome(s)?

Now, what tools do you need to achieve that outcome? Let’s take an Occam’s razor approach to teaching in a pandemic and say the very most simple, obvious answer is the right answer.

  • Use email! Really – it can be that easy.
  • You likely already have an LMS – upload materials there and open some dropboxes for students to submit work.
  • Add lecture notes to the slides you were already planning to use and upload those/send them out.
  • Keep your tools/tech to three or fewer. For instance, I’m using Slack for nearly everything we will do for the remainder of the course and maintaining our use of email and Google Docs. That’s it – no other tools needed.

Be flexible and responsive and solutions oriented. It’s been said but it’s important to remember – students may have unreliable internet, be in other time zones, taking on additional familial responsibilities, ill themselves or caring for someone who is sick. This is not an extended weather event – this is a global pandemic. Let’s treat each other with care and grace and low expectations. And please please please just keep it simple.

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