Learnings from “online” in the room

We are in the fortunate position in Australia that our Covid-19 numbers are low enough to begin teaching in-person (although still at the required physical distance), and it has been lovely to see my students again in the same room after months of online teaching.

At first, I was a little reluctant to teach this way, as there are many details I can’t see sitting 1.5 m away (including the student’s left hand), and can’t do my best. As my work is still a mix of teaching online to interstate and international students, and now in-person lessons again, I decided the solution was to leave the overhead camera in place for those coming in person too. This means that I can sit far enough away to keep a safe distance, but still see everything that I could, and even more, than sitting close by.

One interesting benefit through teaching online in this pandemic, is that people have been forced to consider their key placement (and in and out motions), because they can see their hands objectively from the above view on their screen. Now that we are in the room with the overhead cam still set up, I ask the student to stop or freeze at critical moments, and ask them to look at the screen. Students who are less sensitised to the feelings in their hands and arms are often really surprised to see that just before the thumb needs to play a black key, they are miles away in the white key area, or shocked by an unnecessarily large motion. Suddenly an instruction that they have heard many times becomes meaningful, and all of my nagging makes more sense 🙂

So that’s another tool to consider as we make our way forward in these strange times.

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