June 22, 2020

Black is the new black.

Coronavirus
Clemson University, which is in the first phase of a reopening, announced on Friday 25 new cases of coronavirus, for a total of 28, mostly student-athletes and some staff. It's the largest outbreak since the country has moved to reopen. This came on the same day that South Carolina reached its highest one-day total for new cases. On Thursday of last week, 13 football players the University of Texas at Austin tested positive.

Apart from the wisdom of having football be a part of such an early phase, it doesn't bode well for the fall, especially if contact sports are seen as such an essential activity.

Grammar
In social justice and grammar news—don't you wish we had more of those!—the Associated Press has modified its usage manual to capitalize the b in "Black." As John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president of standards wrote in a post, “The lowercase black is a color, not a person.”

"Indigenous" will also receive a capital I when referring to original inhabitants of a place. “White” will stay the same, for the time being, while further changes are considered.

Planning for the Fall
Matt Reed has penned an opinion piece on The Chronicle's inattention to community colleges and their plans for the fall.

In terms of your own plans, keep in mind that when you're in class you could have students help. For example, you could stream a video of your lecture using Zoom and have a student sitting at her or his desk working the camera or monitoring the chat. It might require a bit of creativity, but there are many simple workarounds for how to manage it all.

Microsoft Stream/video recording
For those of you working in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and needing to create quick video announcements or micro-lectures to share with your class, you can now do a screen, video, or video-in-screen recording directly from your browser into a channel on Stream, Microsoft's video sharing platform. Recording videos has never been easier. Mike Tholfsen has made a quick tutorial.

Stream offers plenty of permissions options and closed captioning and you can opt to have comments turned on or off, depending on how you plan to use the videos. And it is more private and secure than YouTube.

Teaching Moment
German Lopez, at Vox.com, an excellent "explainer journalism" website, compiled a list of nine different reasons why the phrase "all lives matter" is insensitive. It includes Kris Straub's, quite well-known, house-on-fire cartoon, along with video testimonials and other writing.

In addition to a powerful lesson about Black lives and the movement, it could also be used as a template for assignments where students are asked to put together a similar collection in defense of a position.

While you are scrutinizing your syllabus to make sure that it captures the moment we find ourselves in, Ciarro Jones suggests that we might need to look a bit deeper: the disciplines themselves. "Now is your time," she urges, "to put your scholarship where your mouth is."

Have a great class.