It is not possible to fail

PROMPT: Based on what you’ve learned about Resilient Course Design, Low Bandwidth Teaching and Trauma-Informed Teaching & Learning in this section and your own experiences with remote teaching in Spring 2020:

1. What is your Plan A for remote teaching in future semesters?

2. Reflect on your Plan A to form a proactive Plan B:

Plan A

I plan to teach asynchronously in the Fall. I’ll need to

1. record 2-3 lectures per unit (there will be 4 major readings constituting the core of 4 units)
2. assign a few complementary documentary/ feature films that can be streamed via the library
3. require weekly discussion assignments
4. administer an open book, time sensitive midterm
5. develop a small range of choices for an academic essay
6.  host IM sessions or zoom office hours once a week
7. craft (optional) blog posts regarding the readings

Plan B
Using a labor-based grading system will allow me to focus on students’ online presence. As my plans are asynchronous and relatively low-bandwidth already, I don’t anticipate many problems with access. In the event that a student cannot stream audio/video we’ll arrange for additional readings to fill the gap.

My greatest challenge teaching will likely be getting students to actually do the reading, a modest request that is usually met with a combination of well-intentioned fribbling and passive resistance. More than ever, most of our students’ waking hours will be consumed plying the dazzling, meaningless shallows of the internet. I can suggest habits that improve their chances of learning, but odds are most of my students will reap very few benefits from an online education. In this register I think it makes sense to refuse to humanize my courses and underscore that they will be working largely in isolation, overstimulated monads drifting in an endless void of appearances. This stance is perhaps one of the only valuable lessons I can impart: that the structure we inhabit determines almost everything.

The good news is that because my courses will be based on a labor system of grading students who complete the assignments on time will receive a B. Those who complete all assignments with distinction will receive an A. Those who do not complete all assignments or turn in assignments late will receive a C. It will not be possible to fail my courses.