The Covid-19 pandemic has not been easy on us all. We had to protect ourselves and out loved-ones, we have lost some of them or have been separated for way too long! I feel extremely privileged. I am living in a country that has, in general, responded quickly and well to the pandemic. My direct family and I have been healthy and safe, my students too. As the vaccine is given to more and more people, I wish for better days ahead of us.

Like many of us, I have had to re-think the way I do research, the way I mentor my students, and the way I teach. Softwares such as Zoom and Skype have been great allies. Their flexibility and user-friendly interfaces have allowed me to interact as often as possible with my students and co-workers, reducing the feeling of isolation and nonproductive-days.

It had its challenges. I am used to give presentations and to share a message during my conference talks, no problem. But interacting with my group members, reading their emotions, understanding their troubles, all of these seemed at first much easier during a proper face to face in person meeting. I, like many of us out there, had to learn something new. I had to learn interactions through a screen.

  • The video off option is terrifying 🙂 But it is possible to ask students to turn it on at least once in a while
  • The video off and the sound off is from an horror movie really 😀 ‘Please show me your face(s), so I can read your expression when I am not clear to you!’
  • ‘My sound is off? my headphones and microphone are not working? Oh Dear! where was that option again?…’

It took a little practice, and at times it required a good sense of humor! But in the end, the learning occurred and most of us are now pretty relaxed when turning on the next Zoom meeting. We are aware of the video options (blurred background or customized background), the sound options (sound off but clicking the space bar on the keyboard can bring it back on quickly), the shared screen (make sure you share the proper screen for your presentation), the emotion emojis (clapping, smiley, raised hand, …), all those tricks and treats have no more secret for us, right? And if they do, well check this out:


Teaching through a screen