March 10 Day 2: Campus Ghost Town

A hidden pi sheltering in place during the campus shut down.

On MAA Connect: This week we have seen many universities and colleges choose social distancing to reduce the spread of the novel corona virus COVID-19.  At the time of this writing the number has risen past 120 institutions of higher learning. This means faculty are scrambling to transition to different teaching practices very quickly.  The University of Washington suspended all face-to-face instruction at its three campuses beginning Monday March 9 with 72 hours notice to the faculty and students. By weekend’s end, most institutions of higher learning in the Puget Sound Region had followed suit.

From Friday March 6 at 7:30 am when the first announcement was made to end of day Monday, I have been working with colleagues across disciplines to familiarize them with the new tool we had been granted: Zoom. I was lucky. I was familiar with Zoom. In fact, I was already using it in my classroom as a way to provide increased access to students (whether due to transportation, childcare, illness, or other issues.) In class, I joked that we were prepared for anything. If for any reason we could not get to campus, we would all meet on Zoom. I was thinking it would be a snowstorm not a pandemic.

How do we continue best practices in mathematics instruction through alternate technologies?  The attached article gives a place to start. It asks us to articulate and focus on our learning goals and then consider how to achieve them differently rather than simply getting online ASAP.

There are many experts in our community and I invite them to share  their experiences and knowledge. Look for invitations to MAA hosted Zoom sessions where we can brainstorm, experiment, and learn from each other. Remember to give grace to yourself and your students during this time. Everyone is anxious and out of their comfort zones. We will make mistakes and we will improve. Let’s make mathematics engagement a constant that holds our communities together.

On Facebook. Post 1. Reflections from day two of not teaching face-to-face.  I’m hopeful. Today held three culminating presentations from our senior capstone projects. They had as much time to adapt as we did. I had three presentations in three different styles.

1) prerecorded (through zoom) and displayed (through zoom) to 33 logged-in participants.

2) presented live with screen sharing Beamer slides and group members at different locations (two on campus in an empty classroom and one at home),

3) presented live from a remote location with back-up prerecorded version.

Questions were posted to the chat and some were answered in real time. People showed their appreciation with thumbs up or clapping emoji. And despite not being together in the same place, I felt like we came together as a community to celebrate our students’ achievements. So yes, I’m very proud of our UWTacoma mathematics seniors!

On Facebook. Post 2. Campus was a ghost town when I left this evening. So I checked on a few of the remaining hidden Pi-s. I wonder if they will still be there after the “deep clean”.  Sorry that our Pi Day activities have been postponed.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

One thought on “March 10 Day 2: Campus Ghost Town

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: