Remote Online Training Reluctantly Delivered To You Remotely From Your Remotely Conscious I.T. Staff
Dear Tenured Mostly-White Professors Hunkering In Your Parents’ Hamptons McMansions, Abused Teaching Assistants, and Adjuncts Living in Your Cars:
Hey, what up? Guess how you’re going to spend the rest of your summer? Struggling through this required, un-intuitive, unpaid distance learning training for the fall semester. It’ll take anywhere from fifteen minutes to fifteen rage-filled days to complete, depending on your tech expertise and professional ethics.
The University President sends thoughts and prayers for scrambling last March when you went into lockdown breakdown and had 24 hours to transform your curriculum from on site to out of sight. And you thought only your students pulled all nighters? Welcome to Covid-19 academia.
The Provost should have written this online guide, but he’s being tutored by his 9-year-old son learning HTML and Cobra in the likely event that budget cuts will slash our entire IT department. So after sharing some edibles, we are totally unprepared to prepare you.
First, in order to qualify for the training, you need to take a proficiency quiz. Haha, now profs have to be tortured with exams! Although we trust you’ll use the honor system, we’re using AI to make sure you’re not Googling answers or enlisting a teenager to help you cheat.
How do you turn a computer on?
(a) Bark a command at your next-door-neighbor’s Alexa.
(b) Use your Netflix remote after accessing Roku while eating tofu
(c) Press the power button on the upper right or left side of your laptop (hint: it’s dime sized with a round circle icon), using firm pressure, but not too hard, for a few seconds until the magical Apple icon appears. PC users, sorry we don’t know what PCs are.
(d) Scrub the keyboard on the lower left side with your last Lysol wipe.
The correct answer is: (c)! If you blew it, we’ll share your screen for $175 an hour to teach you basic tech any preschooler knows.
All you ivy league PhDs with useless philosophy degrees scoffed at students who earned online degrees. Now we’re all the University of Phoenix! Until some scientist discovers that Covid can be spread through computer screens—and who knows? No one really knows anything—you’re going to “figure out” teaching studio art online. If you resort to an online drawing game like Scribbl.io, your students will reward you with favorable evaluations.
Send a Zoom invite to all your students, even though they stopped responding to emails in 2017. Mute them all! Bask in a feeling of omnipotence. Don’t forget to test out your video before class. Make sure there’s nothing alarming on view behind you: trashy beach novels, sex toys, bongs, some random dude manspreading on your couch in underwear.
CLASSROOM ZOOM NETIQUETTE
Set the rules straight from the first meeting launch.
- Make everyone activate their video or else you won’t know if they’re gorging on takeout or getting high.
- Stop refixing your fucking pony tails! No one wants close-ups of your armpits! Make it clear this is a literary salon, not a hair salon.
- Teacher dress code: pj’s only from waist down.
- Student dress code: pj’s only from waist up.
- Never conduct class from the bathroom. Duh. Watching you pee is not on the syllabus.
We thought we originated every lame excuse when we suffered through humanities requirements. The dog ate my homework. How retro!
Which excuses are now legit:
- a) Dog chewed through my power cord.
- b) Grandma died. The same Grandma who died last year during a different class reincarnated, then died again.
- c) Phone died, and the first Genius Bar appointment is after mid-terms.
- d) My Wifi’s unstable at my (1) coffee bar (2) dive bar (3) ballet barre.
- e) Bandwidth got sucked up by my stupid younger brother playing Fortnite.
- f) All of the above.
The correct answer is: (f). #expressempathy.
How do you turn your computer off?
(a) Swipe it away with your right arm. But since your desk is now a bed, the computer will survive unscathed.
(b) Turn off the master circuit breaker (for a desktop) or use a screwdriver to remove the battery (for a laptop).
(c) Wait until the charge dies and the screen goes black.
(d) None of the above.
The correct answer is (d)! You can never turn away from virtual learning until a Covid-19 vaccine comes to market or our university goes bankrupt. In the meantime, turn off your video and mix a martini, but don’t forget to end the Zoom meeting first. On your third martini, give every student an A for just showing up. On your fourth martini, log onto www.aaonlinemeeting.net.
Please contact us for additional help, though we cannot address inquiries like “When will the pandemic end?” since we stopped answering emails in 2012.
Candy Schulman has published humor and essays in McSweeney’s, Rumpus Funny Women, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many defunct print publications. She is a creative writing professor who never tires of telling her students grammar bar jokes.