I teach a class at VCU with my pal Max on active and sustainable transportation. We talk about bikes, buses, good land use, and how they all work together to make cities wonderful. The class itself is great and filled with a bunch of awesomely nerdy students with strong opinions on transportation. We’ve had a lot of fun this semester so far, but, as with almost every other college across the country, VCU has moved to remote learning for the rest of the year. What even is remote learning?
I think this is only my sixth semester adjuncting, but I’ve never taught any of those remotely. While this is a big change for me, it’s a massive change for students, and, given the upheaval I feel in my life, I can’t imagine what they’re dealing with right now.
That’s why we decided to run the class completely asynchronously. We’ll record our lecture as a podcast rather than schedule a Zoom. We’ll post in discussion boards rather than chat in Slack. We’ll encourage students to email us with questions rather than hosting office hours. I deeply value my schedule in This Most Unusual Time—often it feels like the only thing holding life together—but, at this point, I really can’t imagine dedicating a weekly two-hour block of time to sit on a video call with two dozen similarly frazzled people.
Who knows what will come of work and class and meetings after the coronavirus, but I’m hoping more things will move asynchronous. I’ve already started to value, in a way, the enforced slow down on my previous pace of life.