As schools close or prolong their spring vacations, they are also gearing up for online classes and requiring their teachers to get up to speed on online teaching which means learning various “platforms” and software programs in a hurry.

I work at three different institutions of higher learning, and they each use different platforms for delivering digital content and managing learners. Great!

Although my main employer finally (i.e. April 10th) got around to giving teachers an orientation into how to use the Moodle-based system (all in Japanese, of course), I had to find my own English resources to fill in the gaps. This tutorial was the best, I found: Moodle 3.8 Complete Tutorial for Teachers and Creating Online Courses

Russell Stannerd is an excellent and prolific resource for just every educational platform and software under the sun. I found his YT vid on Zoom security settings particularly helpful.

Much has been said and written and blogged about Zoom’s “security issues”, but this video by Keep Productive and this article about Oxford  Professor Dutton, who is also a fellow of the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre (GCSCC) of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science, suggest there is no big problem: the “problems” happened because people were setting up Zoom meetings without properly educating themselves about the various security settings.

But, many of the issues are actually related to the users moderating the conference, rather than the software, says Professor Dutton. … He maintains, there are numerous ways in which meetings and events can be safeguarded from malicious intent. He says: ‘There has been exaggerated coverage of the problems. It’s not usually a problem with the software. Many of these issues can be addressed by the moderator.’ … Professor Dutton maintains: ‘Part of the problem is that Covid-19 moved so many people online so quickly. Teachers and people with no background are using [this technology] because it is so simple. But it made them vulnerable to malicious intent [because they did not take the security measures that were available].’

FBI follows Oxford academic’s guide to beat the Zoom-bombers

Here’s Prof. Dutton’s original blog post: Zoom-bombing the future of education

However! This article suggests there are other, more serious issues: ZOOM’S ENCRYPTION IS “NOT SUITED FOR SECRETS” AND HAS SURPRISING LINKS TO CHINA, RESEARCHERS DISCOVER Is there truth in this, or is this part of a broader China-bashing fashion? You be the judge.

According to the above Intercept article, Zoom’s user-base has increased 20x (including the US and UK governments) since the corona virus started causing many people to work from home: “Since the coronavirus outbreak started, Zoom’s customer base has surged from 10 million users to 200 million, including “over 90,000 schools across 20 countries,” according to a blog post by Zoom CEO Eric Yuan.”

There are a number of free courses teaching people how to teach online and many more have sprung up in the last few weeks, for obvious reasons. Here’s one I joined: Take Your Teaching Online run by NILE (no idea what that stands for and they’re not telling you! I think the N stands for Norwich in the UK, but not sure). Russell Stannerd is one of the instructors.

This LinkedIn Learning course on using Camtasia is also very good. And it’s free (for a while): How to Create Instructional Videos in Camtasia by Corbin Anderson.