Monday, February 15, 2021

Dr. Z Loses Power in Zoom Class


Even though I have made a reputation for teaching other educators how to use Zoom; regardless of the fact that I have been teaching synchronous online classes from my basement for the past 11 months; In spite of the fact that I have been teaching online for over 2 decades; I want you to know that sometimes things go wrong in online classes for me too.

Today, I was just beginning to teach my Ed Tech and Design course through Zoom. I had EVERYTHING prepared. My screen was shared so we could review our schedule and the requirements for the upcoming assignment. I had already spoken with each of my 36 students by asking them the question of the day. Each of my students had already renamed themselves by putting their group numbers at the beginning of their names to make it easier to break them up for their group work later.

Suddenly, my MacBook Air's screen WENT BLANK . . .

My lifeless computer stared back at me as I tried to make sense of the situation. My students were gone and my computer wasn't working. I was cut off from my class. I hadn't checked to ensure that my laptop was charged and it died. My students were left leaderless in my Zoom classroom.

I immediately phoned my Graduate Assistant, Lindsey. She answered quickly My computer connection was cut so I needed to reconnect another way. Lindsey affirmed that they had noticed that I had disappeared. I had not yet made her co-host so hosting had been passed to a student . . . How embarrassing! When Lindsey discovered the host, they asked the new "chief of the class" to make them host.

My computer was busy recharging so I hung up from Lindsey, and signed into Zoom with my phone. This allowed me to address the class to start them with their class activities. The next activity was Breakout Room group work. Lindsey placed them all in groups and sent them on their way to collaboration.

My computer soon regained consciousness. I was able to sign back into Zoom to regain control of my class. Things went well after that.

This was embarrassing, but it was a learning experience as well.

Here are some of my Lessons Learned:
  1. Remember to have your laptop plugged in before you begin class.
  2. Have your laptop charged before class.
  3. Add this plugged in/charged reminder to your checklist. (You may remember that last week I posted my checklist in prep for a Zoom class. You will notice that I have since added this to the list - near the top.)
  4. ALWAYS assign your assistant as Co-Host before class.

John Dewey once said:

"Failure is Instructive.
The person who REALLY THINKS, learns quite as much from their failures as from their successes."

Hopefully, I will REALLY THINK and learn from this in the future.

What about you? Have you ever had this happen to you?


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