I opened this blog today and realized I haven’t blogged here in 2020. That’s a bit slow even for me. My excuse is probably everyone’s excuse. This year, which is just a month more than half over, has felt longer than most decades. The current political situation, the global pandemic, changes to our lives due to the pandemic. Me needing emergency surgery last week and having to jump out of my academic responsibilities at a moment’s notice and spend four days in the hospital (complete with needing to be moved due to a COVID case on my floor). And, hardest of all, my mother’s cancer worsening so that this month we had to begin hospice care for her. Writing an occasional Tweet has felt like all I could handle. But here I am blogging today.
The first thing I want to note is the incredible generosity of my students. I held off opening my Spring 2020 evals, finally biting the bullet and doing it. Their understanding of the disruption we’d experienced and appreciation of the various ways I tried to keep in touch with them moved me deeply. So many of them are “frontline” workers, coping with having children and elders to care for through all of this, trying to keep everybody safe and fed. That they found space in all that for compassion for me was deeply moving.
For this Fall (and I’m guessing likely this Spring) almost all California State University classes are online. To help faculty with this move to online-only courses, I’ve become one of my college’s teaching fellows working with online instruction. This is exciting to me. Our university academic technology department does an excellent job teaching about the EdTech tools the university has available to faculty, but there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about digital pedagogy — that is, how faculty fit technology into their teaching philosophy. One of my new responsibilities is to lead a Faculty Learning Community. My plan is to create one on critical digital pedagogy and propose that our “deliverable” (one of the rules of the FLCs is that they have to produce something) be each of us writing a weekly blog post reflecting on our online teaching practices and how it’s connecting with our pedagogy, and ways we might develop online courses for the Spring. Sort of public-facing action research on critical digital pedagogy.
My first thought was that this could be a collective blog we all write for, but as I’ve thought about it more –isolated from everyone while in the hospital for four days I had a lot of time to think between morphine doses– I think I’m going to propose a kind of “Domain of One’s Own” for the faculty and suggest we each blog on own sites and interconnect them through some sort of RSS feed.
So anyway, that’s a small nutshell of what’s been happening. I may go back and fill in conference gaps from back when such things were possible.
Look for more in this space.