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Zoom link for class meetings: https://teacherscollege.zoom.us/my/pauloblikstein
Online office hours: Check the BBA calendar for Zoom links.
Letter from Paulo
We hope you are all safe and healthy, and prioritizing your well-being in these challenging times. Gladly, we all had a few days to adapt during Spring Break. We met over the break and came up with a few ideas for the class, but we would love to have your feedback. First and foremost, we understand that this is unprecedented, and that some of you are in particularly vulnerable situations. In that context, we want to make sure the class is a positive learning experience and not just yet another burden in the midst of more important personal and health issues. At the same time, we do not want to lose momentum and make sure we keep doing our job as the BBA teaching team.
Having that in mind, we are considering these ideas:
Run some of the “hands-on” lab sessions remotely, starting March 25th. We will do a session on the Arduino physical computing platform. We either gave you kits, or shipped them to your home -- you should all get them on or before this Saturday. We are also equipping our TAs with external webcams so that they can show you what they are doing in a better way. Again, we don’t want this to be a stressful experience but a fun, relaxed exploration.
For the Arduino session on March 25th, we encourage you to check the tutorials on Lynda.com through “myTC” -- in case you wanted to come to class more prepared.
For the theory class, we will keep the current readings, and possibly make some small adjustments as we go. The class format will shift in that each class will be moderated by a group of students. We believe this will make us feel more like a community instead of us leading the discussions every class. We will be there to support the moderating group so this should not be a stressful activity either. It will be more of a conversation.
For the Tech Critique assignment, you can choose the format that feels more comfortable to you: Presentation or paper. We thought of this new format: instead of an essay, you would create a few slides + presentation. The advantage of doing a presentation is that people would get to see your critiques and your products, and it would eliminate one written assignment from your plate. If you have already finished your essay (or almost), or if you would rather write it, that would be ok too. We felt like having one written assignment less -- and one extra show & tell -- would be a positive thing -- but you can take your pick. For the presentations, we would book 1-3 students per week for a 5-10 minute presentation. What do you think?
For the final project, we want to foster a community of practice that comes every week together to share what each is doing and give feedback to each other (we are still thinking about how to foster and support this). We will also discuss the new expectations for the final project next week during class, but for sure they will have to evolve and adapt to your own context. But given the constraints of these times, we encourage you to be creative and work around these new options (on top of the more “traditional” types of final projects):
- Create a final project that works with the materials and media that you have around you, while thinking how many communities around the world face similar circumstances daily--so this could be an opportunity to design for them.
- Alternatively, and optionally you can design for the learning challenges associated with the outbreak and take the current situation as part of your project. If doing a project about the virus sounds even more stressful, that's totally fine and maybe your project should be about something totally different that makes you feel good!
Also, if your project does require more materials, we will do our best to send the materials to your homes as long as that is possible (e.g., the post office / Amazon is operational, etc.) We could also try to reimburse you for some of the materials, if TC’s financial people accept it.
We want you to prioritize your mental and physical health. If by any reason, what we are asking for class is too much or is becoming stressful, please reach out right away, and we can discuss extensions or accommodations.
Stay safe, Paulo, Yipu, Isa, Shuangting, Paulo, Arjun, Jonathan