fight Zoom bombers with Zoom bouncers; and old dogs, precariously-positioned laptops

Bill Maurer
Thursday Apr 2 16:27:22 PDT 2020
    Dear all,

    A couple of important items, and a couple of fun ones:
    First, Andy and Heather have developed a set of instructions and protocols
    to minimize the risk of "Zoom bombing," which, again, is when malicious
    ne'er do wells jump into your Zoom class or event and fill your screens
    and speakers with intimidating, racist, and just plain bad rhetoric. This
    is unfortunately becoming increasingly common, and we felt  the OIT
    guidance needed some augmenting. It will be available tomorrow on the
    password-protected part of the "Remote" site. I'll send the link when
    it's ready. Why behind the password wall? Because we don't want the
    evil-doers to know our game!
    I think our chief risks will be in public facing events, and we will
    hold a special staff meeting next week to prep the staff working our
    events on fulfilling the vital role of Zoom bouncer.
    For those teaching large classes, I'd also encourage you to deputize
    one of your TAs to serve as bouncer and general enforcer (to monitor
    for other forms of disruption from within the class, not limited to
    external Zoom bombers, like harassing or inappropriate behavior toward
    other classmates) if you have not started doing so already.
    Second, since my email yesterday, OIT has provided the following
    helpful link to all of their communications since the transition to
    remote-everything began. You can find it here. Great stuff on VPN issues,
    Zoom, connectivity, etc.
    Gillian Hayes circulated the following article by Matt Bietz,
    my reading group buddy and research professor in Informatics,
    about how people experience feedback in virtual environments: Bottom line: seeing
    and hearing people in interactive environments is more effective than
    text-based critical feedback when you're doing the "remote" thing. I
    thought folks might find it interesting.
    And now, some fun:
    In the Ormie the Pig Department: Virginia Mann (Language Science) reports
    that she actually used Ormie in her class on communication disorders
    this week! Spoiler alert: the cookies are on top of the refrigerator.
    And in the Yes You Can Teach An Old Dog Department: Behold! Jan Brueckner
    (Economics) submits this image (see below) of his new remote teaching
    studio, with the following remarks: "I'm a guy who is VERY set in in
    his ways [we never even noticed, Jan], and I wanted to make my usual
    teaching method of writing on a (real) whiteboard translate to our
    new world. So I ordered two florescent workshop lights from Amazon and
    hung them near the white board in the classroom across from my office,
    with the goal of good illumination and thus visibility for what I'd be
    writing. I then positioned my laptop on a stack of material, getting
    high enough to avoid the reflected florescent glare. Finally, I drew two
    vertical lines on the whiteboard to mark the area visible on my screen,
    preventing me from writing things in areas students couldn't see. I was
    nervous about how the setup would work, but I polled the students on
    Zoom the end of the first lecture and they said everything was fine. So
    LONG LIVE old-fashioned methods!"
    Three cheers for Jan, and for everyone else finding ways to make do in
    our new world.
    Take good care, everyone. Almost the weekend!
    note the precarious position of the laptop... but hey, it works!