Four of the buildings at the university are shut today. There are problems with the water supply. Lectures and seminars are cancelled. Even the main library is shut. What to do?
Ironically, I’m not affected yet I’ve met this situation before.
In the shadow of the volcano
I managed to get myself stuck in Cyprus when the volcano in Iceland erupted. I successfully taught one class, in real time, using slightly slow broadband. Ironically, when I managed to get back to England suddenly the day before a parallel class was due, I couldn’t get the technology to work on our own campus. Nevertheless the class did take place, just not in real time.
This is always difficult. Finding a mutually convenient time and a suitable classroom is quite a nightmare. Almost every student these days also has a part-time job so there are often whole days or half days that are not at all suitable.
So, when a lecture has to be cancelled or postponed, I tend to go for a distance learning option.
I have to miss a class next Friday. I gave my students the option of moving it for one week only to later in the day or having a distance learning session. They’ve opted for the latter. That’s a little more prep for me but it may create something I can use again.
What I’m doing this time
I’m making four short videos of my lecture using a tool we have called Screenmatic. Then, between 4.00 and 6.00 on the day we’ll exchange messages via a Facebook page that I’ll create and the forum on our Blackboard site. Blackboard is our Virtual Learning Environment.
Hopefully it all goes well. Watch this space.