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Friday, August 20, 2021

It's good, even if not ideal, to be back

FIU began classes on Monday, so I taught my first in-person classes since March 2020. As a Florida institution, we cannot require vaccinations, masking, or contact tracing, although we can encourage it. I am masked and there is a big plastic shield in front of the podium (although old habits dying hard, I am still walking the front of the room). All but one or two students are masked, at least in the classroom, so most people are doing what is necessary to keep this going. One colleague put it to students in self-interested terms: The best approach for personal and public health is to continue remote learning, but in-person provides a better education. The implication is that masks are a low cost for a high educational benefit.

I  am not saying anything earth-shattering, but I had forgotten how much fun in-person teaching is. There is an energy level that comes with real human interaction of a classroom. The exchanges with and among students are sharper because in realer time; the conversation moves because people need not pause to unmute; and student reactions, such as laughter, are more immediate. Online provides a rough simulacrum, but does not come close to duplicating the experience. I did not appreciate how wide the gap is until I was able to experience a live class again.

Hopefully it will last.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 20, 2021 at 10:59 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink

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