In the first year of my PhD program I took my first online class. I was intending to write a dissertation about religious practices on the Internet, and the course promised to be incredibly useful. In 2000, not many people were yet publishing about research techniques specific to an online context, and the course was populated by grad students from a variety of disciplines.
Halfway through the course, the professor disappeared. The chair of the department assured us that we would be graded fairly on the papers we had already turned in (and we were), but the course simply ended.
Years later, I found out this was a bit of a pattern in the course: the professor would start out engaged, but would gradually stop posting, stop grading, and stop responding.
Though hopefully no one has reached the point of vanishing, the end of this semester has been rough on many of us -- professors and students alike. I've been teaching some of my classes online for about fifteen years, but moving all my classes online has been more than stressful. Many elements of this semester were abnormal for online teaching: normally no one would combine synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid classes while also flipping back and forth between on-campus and online settings! Many of us are also trying to juggle care for elderly parents, young children, or both.
As we finish the semester - and get ready for a similar, if possibly more planned? - Spring, I'm curious what your best coping techniques have been. I have an ever-changing wall of post-it notes to keep up with due dates and content, which has been helpful. I've also started playing darts again so that I can throw pointy things at my wall without fear of (much) damage.
Leave your ideas in the comments, or ask for specific suggestions!
Teaching Assistant Professor
Religious Studies & Philosophy