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Category: teaching and learning

Slack-like tools in the online classroom

A Slack-type tool fills in a really important gap in student-student and student-professor communication. Without something Slack-like, your choices for communication are the learning management system (LMS) discussion boards or email. I think it’s uncontroversial to say we all hate LMS discussion boards. … As for email, I’ll go out on a limb and say that I suspect most professors do not enjoy answering multiple versions of the same question over and over, one by one, especially when they have to choose between knowing in their hearts that some students aren’t asking and won’t know, versus making yet another LMS announcement to address any given issue.

The Online Unconference of Niche Interests

If you’re looking for a fun and educational thing to do this weekend, you might consider attending the second quarterly(??) Online Unconference of Niche Interests (“OUNI” for short), scheduled to run from 2pm until a bit after 5pm Eastern Standard Time, this Sunday, November 29. We have a set of volunteer presenters who will each talk for up to 15 minutes about a niche topic they’re into.

What I’m telling family about COVID-19

A family member asked me to tell them about COVID-19. It was a general question, which I chose to interpret as “how does transmission work, and what is the real risk?” This is what I said. As I told them, I’m not a biologist of any sort, and I will accept corrections (both from people who are biologists and from those who can cite sources), of course. Both this person and I have autoimmune issues, so I take that as a given in this post.