April 21 Day 44: Conjectured Cause for this Pause

3D printed Covid virus models in front of a computer screen showing MAA Connect's main page. connect.maa.org

It’s been seven days since any post appeared in MAA’s Online Teaching and Distance Learning Forum.  I conjecture a few reasons for the decline.

  1. The urgency has abated. All the decisions that needed to be made about “how” to transition to emergency remote teaching have been made. New information only makes us doubt our choices. So at this point it is better to just put our heads down and power through it.
  2. The recommendations, guidelines, and best practices (including how to avoid Zoom bombers) has reached the level of information overload. There is no more space in our brains to engage.
  3. Exhaustion. Worry. Illness. Depression. Take your pick.
  4. More pressing matters like layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts are taking center stage.
  5. All the service tasks that got put on the back burner are now demanding attention.

Perhaps, more positively, we have accepted the situation and are coping with the consequences. In some academic systems, finals are imminent. Others like my own, not so much. Regardless, the uncertainty horizon has been pushed to mid-summer or beyond. There will be time to worry about what challenges Autumn brings. But now is not that time. 

Please be kind to yourself and supportive of those in your sphere of contact.

(For MAA members, we have a virtual happy hour scheduled Friday, Apr 24, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada). Please register in advance. I hope to see you there.)

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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