The specifications here are a starting point. As the quarter progresses, our class format may (indeed, will probably) adapt in response to what actually works and doesn’t work for us.

In brief

We’ll meet virtually on Fridays, from October 2 through December 11. All times are PST. You will receive a Zoom link in your email.

1:30–2:30: Synchronous discussion

2:30–3pm: Break

3pm–4pm: Guest lecture (OK to watch later)

4pm–5pm: “Swing space.” We’ll often use this time to start simultaneously on the next weekly assignment, since that way you can ask questions immediately as you have them. But we may also use the time for other activities as they arise, so please try to keep this last hour clear.

Rationale

Our assigned class time is 1:30pm to 5pm (PST) on Fridays. However, an online course allows us to be a bit more creative about when, where, and how you learn. Many of you, I know, will have unusual or unpredictable demands on your time, including caregiving, work responsibilities, and imperfect access to technology. Moreover, research shows that where online learning is concerned, higher-ed students tend to do better when a class runs asynchronously.

I do think a weekly, synchronous discussion is important for us to build community and stay on track, and students have said that this is important to them. But I don’t think it’s necessary or desirable to spend three hours in an online discussion. So let’s take advantage of the flexibility online learning offers: For the first hour of class, 1:30 to 2:30, we’ll meet for a live discussion. Then, after a break, we’ll (usually) either be joined by a guest speaker or watch a pre-recorded lecture. If you can stay for the speaker, you’ll have a chance to interact with them and ask questions; if not, you can watch the recording later. The final hour is our “swing space”: please try to keep it clear on your calendar for individual and group meetings and other activities as they arise.

Your first weekly assignment is due Friday, Oct. 9, at classtime!

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