Moving Courses Online #2: A Few — yet Critical — Steps for Learning Continuity Amid/Post-COVID-19

Just following up on my first-ever Medium article on experience-based tips and tricks with “moving courses online,” I would like to share my own take on the on-going Zoom challenges — (1) Zoom ban, (2) Zoom bombing, and (3) Zoom fatigue — all of which might stop us from keeping up continuity of learning.

Photo by Gabriel Beaudry on Unsplash

Keeping “learning continuity” is a critical basis for achieving “learning excellence”. I would like to put together what I have learned so far on these fronts, once again, with the belief that “sharing is the best way of learning.” I admit that whatever I am sharing below is incomplete at best, fluid and evolving. I hope, however, that this would help us — those who are concerned and anxious, yet do care about learning continuity — to get to know with each other so that we can work together to keep moving with learning continuity and keep pursuing learning excellence.

  1. Zoom Ban

As of today (April 12, 2020), we have learned from media that some governments — both at national level (e.g., Singapore, Taiwan) and at local level (e.g., New York City Department of Education, Berkeley High School) — have decided to ban Zoom, out of security concerns and privacy infringements. Some major institutions and corporations including Google, NASA, and Space X, have also announced a ban on Zoom.

As far as I understand it (I may be wrong here, so please correct me if I am, and I am happy to revise), these Zoom bans have been limited to K-12 education, where alternatives have been widely established and students and teachers are readily familiar with those non-Zoom tools (e.g., edmodo, Khan Academy, etc.) and/or to super-tech organizations, where they have no problem with moving their daily operations online without help of Zoom (I am pretty sure that Goolers can handle all the current challenges with their own technologies, such as Google Hangouts and Google Suites!).

But, what about the rest of us? At the moment, I still see Zoom is by far the best available option, when it comes to delivering top-rate, professional-quality learning experience in higher education settings as well as corporate learning environments. Together with my colleagues back home at Hitotsubashi ICS, I have started looking into other possible alternatives — Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Webex, etc. — yet, at this point, we have not yet found any better solutions for running degree programs and non-degree executive programs, and we are sticking to Zoom with precautionary measures for security and other issues, including Zoombombing. (That said, I would love to know if anyone knows of any higher education institutions, which have banned Zoom and have established alternative systems that enable their students, faculty, and staff members to keep up their learning continuity.)

Photo by Rafal Jedrzejek on Unsplash

2. Zoom Bombing

Concerns over “Zoombombing” (zoom sessions being hijacked by total strangers) have been heightened for the last week or so. I found the following CNET article and Indiana Univesity’s sites particularly helpful.

As a quick fix, I have suggested my colleagues at Hitotsubashi ICS to use combination of the followings, depending on the objectives of class, meeting, session, and workshop:

  • Unique Meeting ID | Use unique Meeting ID, a random number generated for each meeting (typically 9 digits, like 123–456–789), instead of using your Personal Meeting ID (typically, 10 digit, like 098–765–4321), and/or
  • Waiting Room| This is a feature which allows the host to control when a participant joins a meeting. The host of the meeting can admit attendees individually or admit all attendees in the waiting room simultaneously, and/or
  • Password | Set “password” to the meeting when you schedule it (just tick the box “require meeting password”), and/or
  • Lock Meeting| Lock the meeting if and when you can confirm that all the students/participants are present (Note: no one else, even those legit, cannot enter the room from then on.),
Photo by Yogesh Pedamkar on Unsplash

3. Zoom Fatigue

Now that we are all spending majority of our waking hours on Zoom (and other video conference systems), we are experiencing what we have never experienced before, consciously or unconsciously. I would like to share some quick reads for your own health — psychological and physiological — and those of our students:

Photo by howling red on Unsplash

Hope this can be of any help. If anybody knows any better ways to help protect our learning continuity, again, I would love to learn from you.

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