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Back in the Classroom & the Could Be Worse Fallacy

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As COVID-19 cases surged upward in my adopted state of Florida public university faculty returned to the classroom. This Spring semester also saw widespread adoption of the HyFlex model of teaching. In practical terms, a HyFlex class at my university means that the professor teaches class in the classroom to any students who show up in person while the class is live streamed to other students. In some cases, such as my classes, students also have the option to complete the class as an asynchronous online class (watching videos of the class at their convenience). As might be imagined, teaching a HyFlex class for the first time can be a bit of a challenge. Some classrooms have been upgraded as “Zoom Rooms” featuring HD cameras and other technology. These rooms are relatively easy for HyFlex teaching: you fire up the tech, then teach normally—aside from student’s voices coming from the ceiling speakers and glancing at a display from time to time to see the Zooming students. Some classrooms have been upgraded by attaching basic webcams to the decade old PCs in the rooms. This makes HyFlexing more challenging since you must talk into the webcam while also talking to the students in the room. But all this is manageable for most professors. While this new approach to teaching would have been of concern to some faculty in a normal year, their biggest concern is COVID. My university has, obviously, adopted various safety protocols. Class size is limited, everyone must wear masks on campus, and decontamination is a regular thing. Students, staff, and faculty also must undergo regular testing and some faculty (those 65 and older) have been vaccinated. But going to campus and interacting does present some risks. Because of this, there have been some faculty in the state who have elected to not return to campus. I am currently teaching three HyFlex classes and one online class, so I am back in the classroom. Interestingly, non-class meetings (like committee meetings) are still. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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