March 25 Days 16-17: Making Space

Connections between like-minded humans are so important. We can help each other. Here at home, my family is “making space” so that we can carry on our pre-Corona lives in a post-Corona world. Mark returned to teaching (virtually). Anson cooked dinner. Zach pushed forward on his school work, practice, and Netflix binges.

Online, I zoomed with friend and colleague Ruth to coordinate and support each other in transforming our Spring classes to virtual-only. My conclusion: many of the things I expect my students to do in face-to-face classes remain virtually the same. I already make extensive use of our course management system (Canvas) and that will only grow. I will work hard to maintain human connections while providing asynchronous alternatives—there will be heavy use of breakout rooms and discussion boards in real time while allowing for solo or late contributions to filter in over the subsequent days.

I could spend the next four days preparing just one course and not feel ready. I have two (classes not days). So I must aim for good enough and be satisfied.

And finally a heart-filled thank you to Suzanne and Carol, BFF. We make a formidable team of strong women mathematicians. Virtual hugs all around. I know that you have my back and vice versa.

There are lots of places to find belonging. If you are a mathematician and feel overwhelmed in FB groups like the Online Learning Collective,  Higher Ed + the Corona Virus, or STEM faculty blundering through remote teaching in a pandemic, let me suggest the MAA Connect community “Online teaching and distance learning.” A smaller, more discipline-focused community. Open to everyone. Discussions are threaded by topic to help you find the information most relevant to your situation.

Instructions on how to join the community are available in recorded  form , written form, or just visit and find the “Getting Started” information on the opening page.

Hoping we can all maintain the human connections that nourish our lives during this wild and exhausting adventure.

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.

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