Adventures in online teaching: Meatspace edition

Today, as I was wrapping up a phone call, I walked into one of my regular cafe spots to get some work done. I put my bag and coat down at the large group seating area and walked away so as not to distract those working with my phone conversation.

I was focusing on my conversation partner several feet away from the table, so I couldn’t pay very close attention, but a group of students sitting at the table were staring at me, then at their computers, then at me again, then back at their computers, laughing hysterically the whole time.

I immediately checked to make sure there wasn’t a massive hole in the seat of my pants.

The group remained excited for several minutes. After the call concluded, I took my seat at the large table and opened my laptop. After a few quiet moments, one student said “Excuse me. . . Hi, do you teach computing ethics at Loyola? I am in your class and we’re just watching your lecture right now. We thought there was no way it could be you. That would be so weird!”

It was indeed a little weird and a lot of fun.

I also felt incredibly lucky, because we got to know each other for a little while, which is something quite rare for online courses. It turns out I sat down with an extraordinary group of young people and now — I hope — we have the possibility of a regular point of contact not on the learning management system or email, for which I’m very grateful.


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