Wednesday, November 30, 2011

IT heroes save the day at Nipissing University

Call it involuntary distance education.  But it all worked out for the best.

This morning I woke to the biggest heaviest snowfall I have seen in a long time.  I have a very long country driveway that can be cleared by hand if the time is available, or plowed if our neighbor is available.   Looking out the window I knew that handscraping was not going to be possible. Certainly not before my 10 o'clock class.  My three-hour seminar starting at 12:30? That would depend upon my neighbor.

By 11 o'clock it was pretty clear that he was not going to show up in time.  (It turns out that he was having tractor trouble.) What to do? Cancel another class? That thought really bugged me. This was the last class before our in-class midterm, and there were things I wanted to get done.

One faint possibility occurred to me. What if I used Skype to communicate with the students? It might not be an ideal way to run  a seminar discussion, but surely it would be better than an unplanned disruption. I called the IT helpdesk. Could they set up a computer in the classroom to be a Skype station? Would they?

No hesitation. I am sure they had plenty of other things to do, but with great willingness and competence they set up my classroom so that I could discuss the upcoming term test and run a discussion on queens and other wives in sixth-century France.  I would not have you think it was perfect, but it was better than the alternative: sitting in front of the fire with a glass of wine… Wait a minute, was that a possibility?

I was glad in any case not to lose the class meeting. Thanks, Marg!  Thanks, Greg!  Thanks, whoever else pitched in (that includes at least one student)!

Sometimes this really is a great place to work.

Image:  hmm...

1 comment:

  1. That's a definite win for technology AND teaching. Kudos to your IT staffers!