I enjoy going to conferences for all the obvious reasons: I get to see people from around the world doing interesting work in computing education and visit fun places I wouldn’t otherwise see in the process. But the one thing I don’t like about conferences during the academic year is having to make up classes. Travelling is stressful by itself, and having to find time to schedule make-up classes as well as get students to come just adds to that stress.
So I am thrilled that DePaul has a license for Zoom and integrated it with our course management system. I’m about to miss a full week of classes due to a conference in China, which would normally mean multiple days trekking downtown to make-up classes. This time around I scheduled a few hours of Zoom meetings with my students, and got to make up the classes from my home office. They’re recorded automatically, and I can easily post a link for the students who couldn’t make it. Zoom makes the interactivity I like in my classes easy, and students even communicate with each other using chat during the session. The only thing I don’t get is the look on their faces, which I miss, but I’m willing to take the hit given that the sessions can include my online students who would normally be excluded.
I think this is a great change. I just hope the students are as happy as I am.