The discussion forum on Moodle is our primary communication platform. If you want to ask a course-related question – about the material, assignments, logistics – I recommend doing so in the relevant forum. That means your question, and my response, will be visible to your classmates, who might have the same question later on. You can attach screenshots and insert links to things (like an assignment or lecture) to help explain your question.
I encourage you to respond to your classmates’ questions, so I won’t always barge in with The Answer right away.
Email (email@example.com) is good if you want to contact me non-publicly, or if you need to cc someone who’s not in our class workspace. (If there’s someone you know you’ll want cc’d on our conversations frequently, like a note-taker, let me know and I can add them as a guest member of our Moodle course.) I check email at 8:00 am and 1:30 pm Eastern time Monday-Friday, and 8:00 am Saturday, unless I announce otherwise. If you send me an email later in the day than that, it’s likely that I will see and respond to it the next morning. Because the TAs and your classmates also see the discussion boards, those are usually the fastest way to get a response!
Live conversations are good for more extended questions. We’re not supposed to spend extra time in the classroom before and after class, but I’m often available at those times – we can just stroll down the hall to my office (401A).
Both office hours and special appointments (see below) can be either in person or over Zoom. During open office hours I’ll often have the class Zoom room open on my computer, but it’s easy to get distracted from the computer by in-person questions. So if you do know in advance that you’re going to be dropping in on Zoom, it’s good to let me know so I can keep an eye on the screen :)
Office hours are the best kind of live conversation :) The TAs and I all have regular drop-in office hours/help sessions. You don’t need an appointment, and I encourage you to come with your study buddies if you like. You can see my session times as “Prof T’s Open Office Hours” on Pathways; TA sessions are posted on Moodle.
I really recommend going to open office hours if at all possible, rather than making a special appointment. Sharing your questions with your classmates (and hearing theirs) is super helpful, and frankly, the whole experience is a lot more fun.
You’ll see that in most weeks there are quite a lot of special appointment slots available, to provide as much flexibility as possible. But I can’t actually spend that whole time doing appointments, or I won’t have any time to prep for your actual class :) If things fill up too much, I remove the remaining appointment slots. So, be considerate of your classmates – try and save special appointment signups for situations where you just can’t make it to office hours or you need a confidential environment.
If you can’t make the scheduled office hour times, or if you want to be sure of having a one-on-one conversation, you can sign up for an appointment using the “Prof T’s Special Appointment Signup” blocks on Pathways. Pathways will make you sign up for appointments in advance, at least the day before – this makes sure I see your booking! If you book a slot more than a week ahead, there’s a chance that my schedule will change and we’ll have to reschedule, but I’ll do my best to avoid that.
You’re also totally welcome to invite your study buddies along to an appointment, especially if you all have the same question. One of you can sign up for the appointment, then send the info to the rest of the study group.
If you need to talk but can’t make it to any of my available appointment times, no worries: contact me, and we’ll find an alternate time to meet.
If you want to communicate with me anonymously, you can log in to the account Stats.Feedback@gmail.com using the password BackOnCampusF21, and send an email to me or the TA. (If it’s about an in-class thing, I recommend specifying which class you’re in, so that I don’t think your message applies to the other one.) That said, I do encourage you to talk with me non-anonymously, if you’re providing feedback about the course; I will not penalize you for your opinions, and it’s much more productive if we can have a two-way conversation about your experience. Your feedback is how I make this course better!