12 Mar


Thanks again to everyone who has offered thoughts and asked questions about J202 moving forward. Your TAs and I just met to make some decisions about what to do when we get back from break. Aside from taking care of yourself, the most important thing you can do right now is stay tuned in to information from your TA, Gill and me. I can only do so much to keep you updated if you’re not checking your email, Canvas and the J202 site. (If you haven’t already, you should set up your Canvas to have all of my announcements here emailed to you.)

If you’ve been doing J202 right, you’re following along with the schedule. For now, don’t focus on it except for the IS deadlines (keep reading for more on that).

Right away, here a few things that will change:

1. Quizzes — Quiz 7 is being replaced by a survey about your access to technology. If you fill it out by noon on Friday, March 13, you will get 10/10 for Quiz 7. You can fill the survey out here: https://go.wisc.edu/j202techsurvey. We will make a decision about Quiz 8 before week 10.

2. Professional practice portfolio blog — you will no longer be required to post about the professional practice events on your blog. If you went to them already, we will apply those as extra credit. If you still want to earn some extra credit, we will make some online trainings and videos available to you.

3. IS photos — you no longer need to produce original photos for your IS project. You will still need photos or images for your site, but you can talk to your TA about how to make your site visually interesting if you haven’t gotten the images you need yet. If you already took some, you should absolutely use them.

We haven’t quite figured out yet how to account for all of this in your grade, but it won’t work against you.

The good news on the timing of this (if there is any good news) is that most of the in-lab assignments in which your TAs are actively coaching you are done. For the next two weeks, you were mostly going to be working on your own for the IS and portfolio blogs. However, I can assure you that your TAs, Gill and I will be actively available to you in many different ways. We’re trying to minimize the number of platforms we’ll be using, but again, this is where your flexibility comes in. You have to do your part in being an active participant as much as we are.

For week 9 starting on March 23 at 9:30 a.m., you will receive the materials and assignments for the week, and you’ll have until 11:59 p.m. on Friday to complete them. Those materials and assignments will include these required elements:

  • Lecture video
  • ASF training activity
  • ASF assignment (you will be making an ASF about yourself for your portfolio blog)
  • List of ASF tools for making your IS ASFs
  • Virtual meeting with your TA about the ASF assignment and your IS project  — this will replace the group analytics assignment you were supposed to do in Lab 2 of week 9

**You don’t need to do anything about any of these things right now. You will receive all of the directions you need — including how to set up that appointment with your TA — at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 23. Your IS elements that are due at the beginning of week 10 — the audio story and ASFs — are still due on Monday, March 30 at 9:30 a.m. 

We are in triage mode and have only worked out week 9 at this point — I imagine week 10 will look similar in that you’ll get everything for the week on Monday with directions about when things are due. We’re trying to balance our availability with yours, understanding that it will be difficult to get all of you together at the same time.

As for your IS, keep working on it. The main story draft deadline was pushed back to 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 23, but the other deadlines are still in place. You should not try to meet people in person — if you need to do an interview, try to arrange to do it over Skype, Google Meet, FaceTime or the good ol’ telephone. If the only option is to do an email interview, clear it with your TA, Gill or me. Remember that you can still add material from additional interviews when you write your main story draft. You can record an interview by putting it on speakerphone and using another device (a tablet or computer) to record. That quality of audio will be sufficient for your audio story.

Except for the professional practice blog post, the other portfolio site assignment deadlines remain the same.

Many of you are concerned about access to Adobe Creative Suite programs, as well as technical help if you need it. We’re working on both of those things and will keep you posted. I should know more about the status of Adobe within the next couple of days, so if you’re working on your audio story over break, you could use another tool like Audacity or Garage Band, or simply write the script and wait to edit it when we know for sure.

A few people asked me if they should come back to Madison or stay home after spring break. My answer is that is it’s up to you and what’s best for you. If you’d prefer to be home, that’s fine, and if you’d rather be back here, that’s fine, too. You might want to check on library availability after break — for example, the JRR is saying it will be open with limited hours, but as with everything right now, that could change. But consider where you will be safest and able to take part in class over the Internet.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this over the last week, but I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting. I’m happy to answer any questions you have, but please take the time to read the list of questions I’ve been answering first if something pops into your mind. We will also enable the discussion boards here in Canvas as a place to ask questions and get answers. I will try to get back to you ASAP with email questions, but I will also be monitoring the discussions in Canvas. Just know that this experience will be different from an online class you may have taken before — that requires a whole different kind of planning, and we just can’t do that right now. But our goal is to deliver this remotely in a way that still gives you the foundation you need.

I will close with this advice: Your priority right now is you and your loved ones. This class is secondary to that. We understand that this is stressful — we’re human and are feeling all of these things, too. We will do our best, and we are here for you. Take care of yourselves — stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands, listen to advice from public health officials and watch for more information.