Teaching and Technology In The Time of Coronavirus
Responses from Noreen Lace, professor, California State University, Northridge.
I’m a professor at California State University, Northridge. We went online pretty quickly. We had little notice; however, in addition to my traditional classes I’ve been teaching online for a number of years, so making the transition was pretty easy for me. Even in my traditional classes, I use a variety of online methods, including ebooks, websites, and online activities.
A large number of our faculty have never taken any sort of training. Our tech department is great. They were able to schedule back to back online trainings for people to be able to set up their classes during spring break, so they could be ready for returning students. Since then, they seem to have kept up with the demand. I called the other day and there was no hold/no wait time. My questions are answered right away.
We use Canvas as our learning management system. It’s simple to use. I tell my students, if you can upload an attachment in email, you can do this.
Many of the faculty have been using Zoom (in conjunction with Canvas). They’d hoped to use it to hold live classes — and I do believe some people are; however, we’re finding the system is becoming overloaded and not working well. Furthermore, we’ve recently found people have been hacking — or somehow crashing the live class and sharing/posting inappropriate screens and pictures within the live zoom sessions. They’re calling it zoombombing.
Because of the drain on the system, one of the methods I use is to record within the Canvas program and have the students respond the same way. I also use the traditional methods of written lecture notes along with their written responses. We have discussion boards, live chat features, as well as document sharing available to us within the program.
My students were supposed to do a presentation in class. I’ve since given them creative freedom and they can use any program they want and present in any way they feel works best for them. One of my students just asked me if they can use animation — so I’m quite excited to see the results.