We start school today and that always feels weird, given that most of my colleagues have already got a couple weeks under their belts by this point in time. I usually feel like the guy in “Spinal Tap” who can’t get out of the pod, watching the rest of you deal with what’s going on while I’m stuck in limbo:
That said, this year, I feel like the last miner into the shaft, looking around me and seeing an awful lot of dead canaries, and thinking, “Hmm… maybe they’ll decide I shouldn’t go in there….”
Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, pretty much everything we’ve watched this year has involved numbers, percentages, odds and more. With that in mind, here are some odds and numbers to consider as we continue our college/university journey through Coronapocalypse 2020:
87 – Percentage increase of students who request a completely online version of your 8 a.m. class when compared to your noon class.
4 – The over/under mark for number of weeks you are doing in-person classes before a COVID spike moves you completely online. (Take the under.)
5:1 – Odds of the student who asked for online accommodations for “health-related concerns” ends up on a YouTube video licking a doorknob at a frat party.
2:1 – Odds that despite your school’s edict that only essential personnel are on campus, and that nobody come to campus who isn’t needed, and the proclamation that “We are all in this together,” Parking Services will ticket you for being 6 inches over the line in a semi-empty parking lot.
10:1 – Odds that your university will create a mandatory two-hour weekly meeting of some kind that is supposed to help you deal with all of the extra work and anxiety you are feeling right now.
1,001:1 – Odds that group will make things better for you.
9:2 – Odds the carrots you left in your office before everything shut down in March have developed language skills by now.
8 – Number of professors who will be fired for accidentally uploading a sex tape instead of a lecture file because they never bother to label any of their video files and they stick them all in a file folder marked “Stuff” on their hard drive.
1,020 – Percentage increase in successful Title IX complaints, thanks to Zoom lectures providing video evidence of what everyone at your school has been complaining about for years.
247 – Dollars you will spend out of your own pocket to record your lectures and post them after your university has stated it will “provide any and all equipment you deem necessary for online learning, free of charge.
11 – Percentage of student put on quarantine trying to tunnel out of their dorm room like Andy Dufresne in the “Shawshank Redemption.”
0.03 – Percentage of students who are old enough to understand that reference.
3:2 – Odds at least one student forgets a mask each class period.
47 – Percentage of faculty members looking for “that adapter thingy that came with my recorder” before every live lecture.
0.47 – Percentage of faculty members who will find it.
87,351,842:1 – Odds your school makes national news this year for anything other than a coronavirus outbreak or a student getting stuck in a Taco Bell drive thru window after being shorted a chalupa.
754 – Number of times your university president or chancellor uses the word “unprecedented” in every email or speech this year.
Even Money – Odds the student who skipped every lecture, swore they saw them all online and “worked really hard” in this class, will fail with a score almost too low to compute.
8:1 – Odds you will be able to identify at least half of your students after the mask mandate is repealed.
7:1 – Odds you are able to identify at least half of your students in any given semester.
12 – Percentage of professors who will ask, “Instead of using (fully supported video software program the university has used for years successfully), why can’t we use (glitchy video program only six people know about on Earth, but they read about in The Chronicle of Higher Education and think will somehow be better)?”
5:2 – Odds the professor on a video lecture isn’t wearing pants.
83 – Percentage of professors who want to do live streaming lectures because “they’re more authentic,” that will be interrupted at least four times by pets, kids, the mailman or a door-to-door Bible salesperson.
96 – Percentage of students who say they watch every video lecture entirely.
0.96 – Percentage of students who actually watch every video lecture entirely.
92,249:1 – Odds your school stays open all year without a single problem.
100 – Percent of school administrators who will “express surprise and disappointment” that they were unable to keep their schools open all year, even after watching dozens of other schools crash and burn all around them.
Have a great semester, everybody!