Well, Spring Break has come to a close, with distance learning, it doesn’t quite feel the same, for both good and ill. At about the time of this writing (shortly after 8:30 AM EST), I’d be about twenty minutes into an AP US History class under normal circumstances. Instead, I’m sipping coffee and grading student responses to a pre-recorded lecture (on George F. Kennan’s containment policy) as they roll in.
I’ve found that, personally, I’m far more productive and focused since the transition to distance learning. The incentives are in place for me to be so, in that I can just laser-focus in on building out online versions of my classes. I’ve also been adjunct teaching online for a local technical college for about five years now, so I’ve gotten good at the management side of it. Indeed, most of distance learning, after the creation of the actual content, is shepherding students through it.
That’s the other key to my productivity: I know that the more idiot-proof and user-friendly I make the process, the less confusion for the students. That also makes for less work for me on the back-end, which requires a good bit of planning and work on the front-end. I pretty much stay at my computer from about 7:30 AM to 3:30 or 4 PM EST most days, so I can facilitate any student queries as they arrive, but the workflow is more flexible—instead of being locked-in to a series of hour-long performances, I’m able to complete tasks in a more organic fashion.