Yay! A student actually stopped by Zoom office hours voluntarily to talk about her paper outline. I’m holding a lot of office hours, in part because it’s relatively easy to do so via Zoom — I mostly just keep the window open and continue working on my own stuff. I have class time and early evening and Saturday hours, to accommodate all of their schedules. But I wasn’t sure they’d actually come!
It is not easy, convincing students to come to office hours. To encourage it, even though my courses are asynchronous, I required it of all my 100-level course students in the first few weeks, that they come by once, just to get them used to talking to me a little.
It’s always hard coaxing students to come to office hours normally — I’m not sure if it’s easier or harder now. Professors are intimidating, even me.
Anyway, one of them came, and we talked about her thesis and outline, and then we chatted a little, and it turns out she’s of Bangladeshi heritage, and so I pointed her to Mahmud Rahman’s stories, and mentioned that if she wanted (totally optional) to read some of those and incorporate them into her second or third paper for the course (post-colonial lit.), that would be fine with me and might make the material even more engaging for her, and she seemed excited about that, so that was great.
I really do miss talking to my students. Virtual is better than nothing, and they’re actually doing a great job engaging with each other in the discussion boards. I require that they keep reading journals, and comment a certain number of times / week on their classmates’ journals — one student said that she’d never talked this much in an actual class. So that part is good.
Learning online can be very effective, and I think when we go back to in-person, there are parts of this that I will keep. Some Zoom office hours, perhaps. Using discussion boards for the reading journals.
But still. Stupid pandemic. I miss my munchkins.