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How are you doing?

How are you doing with everything? Are you starting to feel a little frayed?  Wichita State's Counseling and Prevention Services has an online tool for you to use to check in on your mental health. There are many screenings you can use including one for general wellbeing and one for current life satisfaction. All screenings are free and anonymous. If you need help, the State of Kansas provides access to a Guidance/Resources program designed to give you and your family quick, direct access to confidential services 24/7 by phone. You can reach them at 888-275-1205, option 1. Services include confidential, short-term counseling services for you and your dependents. 

Now that we can't go to the gym...

While it's true that we are living through the BEST EXCUSE EVER for not going to the gym, yeah...maybe it's time to get a little exercise? How about a full home workout with Greater Wichita YMCA. They have lots of classes to help you get up and get moving.  Prefer something a bit more contemplative? They have eight yoga videos and five videos for tai chi.

Keep Calm and Breathe ... Online

The Counseling and Prevention Center has moved their popular free campus course, Keep Calm and Breathe On,  to an online platform.  Would you like to Keep Calm and Breathe Online every Wednesday? Follow them on Facebook for details.

Module Everyday Coping

Will YOU "Survive Teaching Online"?

If you haven't yet seen Missouri University of Science and Technology History and Political Science Professor Michael Bruening sing his rendition of "I will Survive," then stop everything and watch this:

There's a podcast for that

Are you developing an interest in this whole "teaching at a distance" thing? EdSurge has a podcast you might be interested in. It focuses on the future of education, and they talk to the educators who are building that future right now. You can subscribe through your regular podcast provider, but if you are new to podcasts, or just want to have a quick listen before you subscribe, you can access the EdSurge podcast online too.

You're not alone in these struggles

Jennifer Hardacker, professor of film at Pacific University in Oregon, feels your pain on this whole "Zoom from home" thing.  This video is 43 seconds of a sort of "shared schadenfreude" for anyone Zooming in:

Module Free for Now

Big announcement! Read me!

Thanks to Tonya Witherspoon and the rest of the great people at Career Development, Wichita State now has an enterprise license for LinkedIn Learning. As a Wichita State employee, you now have access to their massive and high-quality library of online learning courses. Want to request your free account? Email today.

Free stuff for teaching from kindergarten to college

Whether you are teaching a WSU class, your kids at home, or both, the website The Journal has compiled links to many (many, many) free, free-for-now, and low-cost educational resources.  Some of it is K-12 focused, so you'll want to check out the full list if you are doing a little K-12 lifting at home.  For those of you looking for college-level resources, here are some we thought you can use from this source and other. But remember! If you have students receiving accommodations in your classes, you need to ensure that anything you assign to them meets their needs too:

Module Have Some Fun

Let's go to the zoo

The Sedgwick County Zoo has two (at least! Tell us if there are more) live webcams cams in the zoo.  Whether you prefer the penguins in the Cessna Penguin Cove or the elephants roaming around the Reed Family of the Zambezi River Valley, you can keep up with our local zoo from the comfort of your own home. Want more zoo fun but out of local cams? Country Living curated 12 more zoos for you to check out.

Let' go to the gallery

First off, if you didn't see the Ulrich Museum of Art's March 25 Facebook posting with the "Special Coronavirus Announcement from the Ulrich's Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection," you need to go do that now. We'll wait.  Now that you've gotten a little sculpture in your day, let's keep it going.  The Smithsonian Museum has online exhibitions and online events for you to check out.

Let's play a game

When the Media Resources Center gang gets together, especially if our boss and Director of the MRC, John Jones, has much to do with it, we tend to play games.  Cards Against Humanity has been a classic at MRC events, and more recently we have been playing some other online games. Here’s a handful of ways you can create some social fun with casual online games.

Cards Against Humanity is a web site that makes it possible to play remotely with friends. This guide will get you started — and you can use Zoom or Microsoft Teams to handle your audio/video connection (the guide recommends Google Hangouts, which is another possibility) 

Card Games

Where I grew up, we played Euchre and some hearts. Friends here play Bridge or Pitch.  All of those games and more are available to play for free on The gameplay is smooth and it’s easy to set up a game that you invite your friends or family to join. 

Jackbox Party Games

Jackbox games ( started out in the early 90s with the trivial game You Don’t Know Jack, but they’ve come a long way. Jackbox sells six different bundles of very fun party games that are designed for people to play together, watching the main TV screen and taking their turns on their phones or other mobile devices.  
But the game works just as well played via Zoom. You can share the main screen and audio through Zoom to the players, and then everyone can still use any device on their end to take their individual turns.  Jackbox has a video tutorial to get you started.  

Module Manage to Lead

We asked John Jones from the. Media Resources Center what insights he has about leading at a distance.  This is what he had to say:

Leading Remote Teams

Here’s the hard truth: there are no simple tricks to working with people remotely, much less managing them remotely.  It takes intentional work like anything else a team leader does — but like so many of the things we are all facing right now, it’s a thing we don’t have a lot of experience doing.  

Do more than the easy social connections

We take for granted our ability to read each other’s body language and behavior when we see each other come into the office. We know how the other person is feeling — even if it’s not something that they are ready to talk about or explain.
But you don't have that now. You may not even get to see your people, if they’re not using their video cameras during virtual meetings (and that’s often a good idea, for bandwidth reasons).  Is their voice alone enough to know that they're doing all right?
There is no substitute for taking the time to make a direct, intentional connection to your people — all of your direct reports. Make sure you’re taking the time to talk to them about more than just work, but about how they’re taking breaks from work, and how they’re bearing up under all of the challenges we are facing right now.

Too Little Work is Harder than Too Much Work

This is a time of crisis. We all value the opportunity to contribute, and there is a lot of pleasure and relief in being able to pour ourselves into our work and know we are making a difference.
Some of your people have had the chance to really dig in and make a difference. You need to spend some time really thinking about the members of your team who may not have had such a good way to contribute. Those people are doubly lost right now — they have very little they can do about the virus, and they have very little they can do in their work.  
An important part of your role as the team lead or manager is to find ways for those people to make meaningful contributions. It can’t be busywork, it must serve the needs of the university community in one way or another. The closer than can be to the needs people have right now, the better. 
Some ideas to think about:
  • Are there skills those team members have that can be used in a new way?
  • Are there burdens that your super stars are taking on disproportionately? Should work be shifted?
  • What can these team members be doing that there is never enough time for? Writing training materials and documentation? Building on their skills? 

Share the Emotional Load Too

Your team shares the technical work, but you can also rely on them to take on some of the adaptive work of taking care of each other, too.  If you’re worried about someone, make sure that you leverage that person’s peers to become part of the solution. 
After all, if you’re the manager, there may be things that person is not comfortable saying or admitting to you. Take advantage of the relationships in your team to make sure that everyone knows that they are important, their work is important, and that we are all in this together. 

There is No Wrong way to Connect.

Morning checkins. Signing off at the end of the day. Playing games and sharing stories and silly zoom backgrounds and whatever else we do — you really can’t do this wrong unless you’re just not being your authentic self in this new, remote environment. So put yourself out there, shine your light into the corners, and we’ll see each other on the other side.