On our MSc programme, we have naturally taught in a distance way, and have always tried to supported on-line methods (we have been recorded lectures for years and putting them on YouTube). Our modules are all open source, running from GitHub, YouTube, Repl.it and Slack [here]:
But this semester we have gone full-tilt for on-line learning. What we want is for everything to have the same interaction, and to have a bit of fun and interest. And it’s not just the student who should have a bit of fun, it should be fun for the teachers. At the end of the lecture, each week, we always move to a Mentimeter test that challenges students for all the important things learnt in the lecture:
From the feedback, it’s always an enjoyable part of the lecture for students, and I love the buzz from it. So, today, I tried a bit of whiteboard, and while I taught some RSA and public-key encryption, the students doodled around the topic on a shared whiteboard. And, I must admit the results are so cool. In this one, we have an evil looking doctor Trent:
In fact, I think it is that cool, that I’ve added it to the Slack channel for the module:
But there were so many great doodles:
And one of my favouriates (pixie Bob and Alice):
And my cat — who students often hear in the background — made it onto the doodles:
And some strange ones:
And, while it lacks a bit of crypto, I love pizza Bob and Alice:
And, a great highlight, was when my teaching buddy (Rich) appeared as Bob for the lab demonstrations:
We have six hours of labs, and it passes in minutes, with students joining, and we give them a quick demo, and then send them into break out rooms. There is nothing better than popping in there and to hear them chatting about their Kali Linux commands and sharing their screens. From the start of the module, we got students on Slack, and just continually told them to past any questions they had to the #questions channel. We hope we answered every one of the thousands of questions posted, and where every other student can see the answer.
On-line learning can be fun, for students and teachers, but it’s a whole lot of tools that try to make the whole process more human. Everything we’ve done is to make sure that every student is supported. Our vSoC environment has been a star, as we know every student has the same setup, and they can connect to each other. We didn’t have to change any of our labs, as we were already all virtual.
For our other work, we’ve been running workshops with the Miro whiteboard for our #MASCOTS programme, and it was one of the interesting workshops I have been involved with. We chatted over Zoom, and interacted with Post-it notes. We arranged them, and re-arranged them. We colour coded them, and it all felt so human.