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The Key to Zoom University: More Polling, Less Lecturing.

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The Key to Zoom University: More Polling, Less Lecturing.

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In years past, I would usually start the class with a single multiple choice or true/false question. Students would enter their answers using the iClicker app. And after that initial question, I wouldn’t touch the app again.

Now, with Zoom University, I am asking many more questions. In a 90 minute class, I may pose 6 or 7 poll questions. Each question takes about a minute to administer, and two-to-three minutes to review. I will often call on a few students before I disclose the correct answer. The iClicker app lets me instantly select the right answer, and students will know whether they got it right or wrong. And with a multiple choice question, students can see how many students selected each answer. If I sense that the class is evenly divided between two options, I can focus on those issues.

I am using more polling to keep students engaged. Zoom fatigue is real. And I try to combat that problem by making each student feel like they are in control of the class. Though polling has a drawback. In total, I may spend 20-25 minutes on polling. With more polling, I have less time to lecture and discuss cases. As the saying goes, talk less, poll more.

Fortunately, that sort of material can be reviewed outside of class. This process is known as the “flipped classroom.” For Constitutional Law, I ask students to read the case summaries, and watch the videos, from An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100 Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know. Students can also watch my YouTube lectures from last year when, in the time before COVID-19, I interacted with students IRL. This background serves as an effective substitute for the reduced lecturing.

I do not have that sort of resource for property–yet. I am also writing a new book, tentatively titled An Introduction to Property Law: 100 Property Cases and Concepts Everyone Should Know. That book, and the video library, should be public circa 2022. For now, my students can read the draft case summaries I wrote. This book will link up with several of the leading Property casebooks.

At the end of class, I use what is called a “minute poll.” I give everyone one minute to write a short, one sentence description of the class. (Actually, iClicker limits answers to 140 characters–the length of old tweet). Students can also pose questions, or seek clarification. After class is over, I review every minute poll. If several students pose the same question, I will be sure to bring it up in the next class. So far, I have found this process helpful.

The software also generates a word cloud based on what the students wrote. Here are the word clouds for ConLaw and Property II:

In some regards, I have found this sort of instruction more effective than in-person learning. I know, apostasy. But it’s true. I teach a 9:00 a.m. class. Everyone is in class, on time, ready to go. No one walks in late, stressed after sitting in traffic for an hour, and looking for parking. I don’t have to deal with the disruption of people leaving class to go to the bathroom. And, at least so far, the constant polling has given me instant feedback of which students are prepared and which students are not. Plus, in the past, students would usually leave campus right away to beat traffic. They seldom stuck around for office hours. And if students saw a long line outside the office, they would leave. Now, I routinely have an orderly queue after class, where I can meet with students for as long as I need. Some students meet in groups over Zoom office hours.

I used to think online instruction was vastly inferior to in-person instruction. My thinking on this question is shifting, class-by-class.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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