My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 3

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

My primary problem has to do with two older people living together alone. If one contracts the infection, the other will necessarily have it, too. -HK

Apr 3, 2020 at 12:33 PM: After days of frustration, I finally found an Amazon Fresh delivery date that I could reserve. My cart had two items removed in the meantime. I added some more only to have one of these taken away at the last moment. For those wishing to use this service, I found that that slots were available at 3 am and were still there at 6 am. I think that the midnight slot grabbers were no longer so plentiful. The good news is that I have enough stuff coming on Sunday to keep my family of two going for another week.  Continue reading

Skype As an Alternative to Zoom

Bert Kimura (4/3/20 10:45AM HST) shared an article by Michael Potuck1 on his Facebook page. Potuck reports that, “starting today, [Skype] users don’t need to sign up for an account or download software to join cross-platform video conferences. There’s also a simpler interface that allows users to start a video call in just one click. Skype announced the changes on Twitter and on a new landing page today:

Easy video meetings with no sign ups or download. Generate your free unique link with one click, share it with participants and enjoy unlimited meetings with Skype. Full set of features at your disposal. Your meeting link does not expire and can be used anytime.

You can instantly create a free Skype meeting from any device on the new Skype page here.”

Current Skype users should look for the “Meet Now” option.

1Skype ditches account and download requirements, offers link-based option for free video calls” (9to5Mac, 3 Apr. 2020 11:08AM PT).

All Online Courses Aren’t Equal: Critical Sync-Async Difference

By Jim Shimabukuro

In the University of Hawaii System yesterday (March 31), we received a memo about our 2020 summer sessions: The May 26 to July 3 session will be online only; the July 6 to August 14 session may include F2F sections if we’re clear of the COVID-19 emergency measures by May 15.

A potential registration problem in the midst of this pandemic is the blanket use of the word online. When nearly every course is designated online, the lack of distinction will be confusing for students. The question foremost in the minds of many will be: “Will we have to meet online at a specific time?”

This question highlights the critical difference between sync and async1 classes. Sync classes, although online, require students to meet at specific times on specific days. This is a hardship for many with responsibilities (e.g., jobs, caring for family members), in distant locations (e.g., different time zones), or with preferred learning styles (e.g., async vs. sync) that make it difficult or impossible to participate.  Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 1

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

The richest, most “entitled” communities have the most viral spread. -HK

There are 88 cities in Los Angeles County, California. Each city has a mayor and a city council. -Wikipedia

Apr 1, 2020 at 5:06 AM: My little town of 36,000 is one of the few in LA County with more than 100 out of 100,000 reported cases of the virus. Others include Bel Air, Beverly Crest, Brentwood, Carthay, Century City, Crestview, Hancock Park, Hollywood Hills, Melrose, Pacific Palisades, Palos Verdes Estates, and West Hollywood. You may notice a pattern here. The richest, most “entitled” communities have the most viral spread. They thought that they were immune and ignored the warnings — or else, they simply are the ones with more access to testing because of their wealth. (Or both?)  Continue reading

DIY Alternatives to Turnitin for Written Tests

By Jim Shimabukuro

A memo was circulated today by Maria Bautista, our Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs1, re “Assessment During Remote Delivery of Spring 2020 Courses or Proctored Tests Alternatives and Information Sharing.” In response, Guy Kellogg posted a comment about using Turnitin. In response to Guy’s comment, I posted the following reply:

There are also DIY means to discourage plagiarism as well as ghostwriting2:

1. One is to assign unique topics — as opposed to generic. To make a topic unique, here are some possibilities:

  • Require the inclusion of quotes from specific or nonmainstream readings, videos, or class lectures. The more specific or atypical, the better.
  • Require the inclusion of quotes from classmates in online discussions or from a personal interview.
  • Require the inclusion of a firsthand experience or observation, i.e., a paragraph or more of personal narrative — to support the student’s thesis.
  • Require the application of specific critical thinking tools — e.g., logical fallacies, SMELL, Henry, or Davis Oldham’s “Evidence” (Shoreline CC) — for the purpose of analysis.
  • Other: _______. Once you begin thinking in terms of unconventional writing assignments that are unique to your course, many other possibilities will spring to mind.

Continue reading

What’s Going On As School-age Children Are Staying at Home?

Lynn ZimmermannBy Lynn Zimmerman
Associate Editor
Editor, Teacher Education

As an educator who is not currently involved in classroom teaching, I have been curious about what’s going on as school-age children are staying at home. On March 21, 2020, Frank Stasio, host of The State of Things, presented a program called “Pandemic Parenting: Tips, Tricks and Advice from the Experts.” The State of Things, produced by WUNC, focuses on what’s happening in North Carolina, but many topics, like this one, are of general interest.

Frank Stasio, host of The State of Things.

Duke University psychologist and professor, Robin Gurwitch, and eighth-grade English teacher, Amy Scott, were Stasio’s guests on the show. He and the guests talked with parents and caregivers about everything from how to talk to your child about coronavirus to realistic expectations of a stay-at-home-education routine for all children, including those with special needs and (gasp) teenagers.

I’d like to hear from K-12 teachers and parents of K-12 students. What is working for you? What lessons have you learned? What do you wish you had?

Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall Free for a Month

By Satoru Shinagawa

Berliner Philharmoniker is giving access to their Digital Concert Hall free for a month. I’ve just redeemed a voucher. I can listen to one of the best orchestras at home.

Overview of Berliner Philharmoniker’s Digital Concert Hall

Click on the link below to redeem a voucher.

Continue reading