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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Faculty Workshops via Zoom

Yesterday it felt so good to get back into the rhythm of conferencing/workshops. I had the pleasure of virtually attending a constitutional law workshop with participants from all over the country and even some Europeans joined in. The workshop actually felt very close to in person talks - the presenter gave a 15 minute overview of his paper and then a colleague held the queue. When my turn came to ask a question, my wifi became wacky midway, so I had to complete the thought via the zoom chat. The chat actually proved to be an advantage over the physical gathering because we could throw in small comments while someone was speaking without an actual interruption.

A lot of discussion has been devoted to online teaching and how to make it most effective. My experience with the online talks and workshops has been that size matters. If participants are capped at around 20 or less then meaningful participation and engagement happens, the speaker watches participants laugh and nod and everyone gets to comment. Webinars and mass online talks don't have that quality and they therefore are unlikely to replace the big lecture events that happen on campuses. But really, I don't see a reason to cancel workshops that were scheduled this semester [unless of course the speaker needs to prioritize family/health/volunteering]. Some of my hosts immediately offered the zoom alternative while others just cancelled, but after yesterday I thought I'd reach out to the cancelling hosts to let them know that at least from my end - I am happy to workshop the paper online. Any thoughts on how to make the most of zoom workshops and conferences most welcome!

Posted by Orly Lobel on April 7, 2020 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

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