Please don’t take this wrongly. I know we are in awful times right now. People are getting sick left and right. People who are not sick are still losing their jobs and livelihoods. However, there is something about a situation like this that brings out the best in me.
The last time I remember feeling this same sense of dread and excitement was 29 years ago in the Persian Gulf. There was a war in the Persian Gulf in 1991, and I was there. It is a strange feeling to know that there is important work to be done and yet to know that something really awful could happen.
My way of coping, my way of dealing with the danger and the stress of it all has always been with humor. Here is a video I made of my friend Dave Bockorny waking up our exhausted shipmates. “Dude, that is so not funny,” they seem to say.
In many ways, I am kind of enjoying the change, but it is because the online world has been my thing for a very long time now. One of the most fun things I’ve been doing is recently my daughter & I have been singing together on YouTube for a live audience of a couple of dozen people.
Last night was one of my most favorite episodes so far.
It has also turned out that my most demanding course I’m teaching this semester is the one that I taught online for the first time during the first 8 weeks. I already had a lot of the content developed that I can use in the 16 week formerly F2F version of the class. I need to make some adjustments, but I’m in a good place for that particular course.
I have been experimenting with many new things. Zoom is something I have used to attend meetings and have one on one chats with students but I really haven’t used in an instructional way until this week. That has been an adjustment, but it seems to be going pretty well so far.
The online community -DS106- that I became involved with over a decade ago and I use for my digital literacy class has come alive in recent weeks. A lot of the time in recent years it has only been me and one other teacher from U of Mary Washington who have been using DS106, but a lot of old-timers who disappeared for a long time are back and joining in with various parts of DS106 doing live-streamed shows and things. By the way, one of the founders of DS106, Jim Groom, is living in Italy in the middle of everything, and he’s been getting online and doing live shows on the DS106 internet radio channel about the lockdown in that country
I have also been consulting with some folks about various ways they can continue doing their thing, whatever it might be, virtually. I’m not ready to make public any details on these yet, because they are in the planning stages, but I am currently planning to arrange a collaboration with Polytechnic students and university students located in China; I am working with a media expert in Virginia on hosting an open course on classic films and civic virtue; I am working with a K-State adjunct professor in Drama Therapy on using digital tools to help his improv actors continue to perform virtually.
In short, I view what is happening in the world as an opportunity to continue doing what I have always been doing with Internet technology and digital media, but now in some new and exciting ways.