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Re: [Phys-L] more prepping

A group online whiteboard with audio and text chat could come in handy too. One can implement that combination for free using a free on-line whiteboard (you can embed one into a page in your LMS) and Skype or Google Groups. Should the need arise I think I will spring for a whiteboard with audio and text chat built in; there seem to be several out there costing in the neighborhood of $10/month.

-----Original Message-----
From: Phys-l <> On Behalf Of John Denker
via Phys-l
Sent: Monday, March 2, 2020 4:00 PM
To: Forum for Physics Educators <>
Cc: John Denker <>
Subject: [Phys-L] more prepping

Hi Folks --

Your institution needs to make plans for what to do if students are kept out
of the classroom for an extended time.

Even if you're not the dean or even the department chairman, you know
who is, and you ought to be asking questions, and contributing suggestions if
you can.

Even at the personal level, you might want to think about pivoting to /online/
teaching. You can prepare for that in various ways.
For starters, figure out how to do screencasting. Pick a suitable screencasting
and figure out how to use it.

Before you buy any software, read the fine print on what hardware it
supports. For example, if you have a ten-year-old laptop, the graphics card is
probably not suitable. Screencasting is a rather graphics-intensive task.

If you have a desktop, you can buy an upgraded graphics card for a modest
price, if necessary.

Also you will need a good-quality microphone. Something that clips onto
your lapel is OK. One that attaches to your head or ear is usually better.
Wired is fine. Bluetooth is fine.
Virtually all laptops support bluetooth nowadays, and if your desktop doesn't
you can fix that with a cheap USB dongle.

Ask around. There is probably somebody near you who knows how to do
this and can help you get started.

Look at Khan Academy videos to see what a proven-successful style looks
like. In particular, you do NOT need to capture your face. Screencasting --
which just captures the diagrams and words -- works fine.

A typical LMS such as moodle does /not/ do screencasting, but deals with
many other parts of the problem, e.g. distributing and collecting

It's better to figure this out /before/ any additional manure hits the

The number of covid-19 cases outside of China is growing faster than
exponentially. Previously it was doubling every four days, but now it is
doubling every three days. Exponential growth is absolutely horrifying, but
this is worse.

If this ain't a pandemic I don't know what is.
Forum for Physics Educators