An easy way to disinfect your mail

From what I have read, COVIDS-19 can survive up to 3 days* on surfaces. That means after four days mail and packages should be safe, or at least much safer, to handle. Here is what I am doing to protect my family from contaminated mail.

  1. In an out-of-the way spot (not your breakfast table) find a spot for four stacks of mail.
  2. On day 1, place your mail in stack 1. Wash your hands.
  3. On day 2, place your mail in stack 2. Wash your hands.
  4. On day 3, place your mail in stack 3. Wash your hands.
  5. On Day 4, place your mail in stack 4. Wash your hands.
  6. On Day 5, open your mail in stack 1. Wash your hands. Then when you pick up your Day 5 mail from your mailbox, place it in the now empty stack 1. Wash your hands.

And repeat the pattern: each day you should:

  1. open your mail from the stack that is four days old, then
  2. place your newly delivered mail in its place.

If your memory is as bad as mine, you may want to place a “schedule of dates” at each stack, so you know which stack to open and replace. You may download and print the pdf below with a list of dates for each stack.

Download schedule here.

Some have commented that a Post-It note that you move from stack to stack will work without the need for a calendar. That is great if you are systematic enough to move the note exactly once each day. I am the guy who cannot remember if he has taken his pills yet. The method I describe above is the equivalent of the daily pill box. Now if I can only remember what day it is…

* “Three days” survival of the virus comes from Harvard Medical School’s COVID-19 site. Some reports say that the virus decays exponentially so that the virus may remain at low but detectable concentrations for much longer times. If you wish to be more conservative, add more stacks to your rotation!

Photo credits: 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and Eielson Air Force Base.

Why would anyone use Zoom and Jamboard together?

For those of you that want students doing physics or math problems or something similar in class, let me share the approach my class used for small-group problem solving. I just finished my first remote-teaching class, and it exceeded my wildest expectations, thanks to input from my students in advance, their flexibility, and their forgiveness of my challenges in learning how to do this.

My class IRL includes extensive small-group problem solving. Translating these activities online had me worried.

Zoom logo

I talked with several students from my class in the past few days about how we would tackle doing physics problems online in groups of 2 or 3. One thing I learned is that most with whom I spoke wanted to use a second device (phone or tablet) for their sketches and writing of equations. With two devices, the small groups could talk and see each other on their laptops, while drawing sketches and working the math on their phones or tablets.

Zoom is our video conference platform. I decided to try Google Jamboard for the sketching / scribbling part. Jamboard works much like Zoom whiteboard, but with twenty tabs. I split the class into Zoom breakout rooms, and each group chatted in Zoom while working together on their own tab of the Jamboard. I could move from one breakout room to another, flipping to the breakout group’s Jamboard tab as I changed rooms. That way I could see whether they were stuck or going down the wrong path; if so I asked leading questions or offered hints to get the group back on track — just as I did IRL! The first physics problem took around 15 minutes, and all groups finished within two or three minutes of the rest.

Some students used phones, some used tablets, and a couple used Jamboard in their browser, writing with their mouse. Most of the writing was not pretty, but it was all readable and “good enough.” I expect it will get better.

Why Jamboard instead of Zoom whiteboard?

Jamboard logo

This turned out to be an important decision. Most of the students with whom I spoke wanted to use two devices during class: their laptop for video conferencing and their phone or tablet — touch screen devices — for math. To use the Zoom whiteboard on a second device would have meant each student joining our Zoom session twice. Not good.

  1. That would double the number of participants, cluttering the session, and
  2. I have no confidence Zoom would automatically group each student and their doppleganger into the same breakout room.

So I decided that using Zoom for the video conference function and Jamboard for the scratchpad. That made for a much better student experience. Another big plus for Jamboard is you can paste images on any tab. That is a great way for students to have an image of the problem in front of them as they work.

Class this morning went pretty well. Feedback from my students was encouraging. I survived. For the first day, that feels pretty good.

P.S. Kudos to Ching-Wan Yip of the Wake Forest University Instructional Technology Group for introducing me to Jamboard.

Multimedia technology in a learning space

This tip comes from Brent Babb, Assistant Director of IT Infrastructure Multimedia in Information Systems.

Jan. 9, 2020

Dear College administrative support staff, I hope this email finds you well and ready to start the Spring semester.

As always and with your help, Information Systems is here to support your faculty and students’ teaching and learning. 
Please pass on these tips to your faculty as a quick and friendly beginning-of-semester reminder as they use multimedia technology in College classrooms. These tips are always helpful at the start of a new term and as faculty encounter new technology, updates, and spaces and communicating them to your faculty helps them use our learning spaces. We also have some short helpful videos to assist you with how to use technology in your learning space.

  • If you are in a College classroom that does not have a document camera or DVD player and you need one:
  1. Request it through your administrative assistant or coordinator (most admins have a spare to cover this request).
  2. Request it through the Service Desk.
  • If you are in a College classroom and the technology is not working:
    Submit a ticket or chat live with a member of the helpdesk so they can correct it ASAP.

Happy 2020,

Brent Babb
Assistant Director of IT Infrastructure Multimedia
Webex Personal Room
Information Systems
Wake Forest University
Post Office Box 7408
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109
(O) 336-758-2436(C) 704-400-6343