I don't know how much help I can be, but I've created a chat room where people who suddenly find themselves in a situation where they have to entirely change their teaching toolset in the next few weeks can post resources, or at the very least, collectively whine.

I suppose this meta-thread can also serve as an exchange of sorts, if no one objects.

  • 6
    Nice initiative, thanks! Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 17:12
  • @MassimoOrtolano -- my worry is that at the universities where faculty find themselves in this situation, on site support mechanisms will be absolutely swamped, and giving these people a place to try to get some help is a good idea. Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 17:26
  • 3
    My institution has just decided to move instruction offline for all students after next week's spring break, likely due to fears of students returning from various vacations despite the fact that cases in our local region are low right now. I suspect many others will be making the same considerations. Seems like this is a good initiative, thanks.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 19:37

3 Answers 3


This is a good idea. I was also wondering about this in regards to software shopping questions. We've had at least three recently:

Creating a secure test environment for a lab practical

Alternatives to big-name proprietary remote-lecturing tools

Software to live-stream presentations

Two of which are closed, and one which I expect will be. But at the same time, this seems like a reasonable site to come to in order to find this sort of information. Should we direct these sorts of questions to the chat?

  • Those would be very welcome in the chat, but I wouldn't close the questions either, if they're good questions. The level of support people need might not fit perfectly into the Q\A model, which was my real motivation for starting the room. Ideally, what we would do is open an online teaching SE, and be lax on enforcing rules. Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 17:40
  • Maybe a community wiki in meta or the main site would be a good idea. I'm a little out of my league here. Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 17:41
  • 2
    It might be worth opening this as a separate Meta question, and clarifying what the limits to "shopping" should be in these cases. The shopping close reason doesn't get too specific on this, and it seems like academia.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4062/… is the main guide instead, which seems more narrow than the types of questions that are being closed.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 19:53
  • 1
    @BryanKrause That was actually what I originally intended to do, but then I saw this question and added it here. I went ahead and followed your suggestion too.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 23:29
  • Here is the separate meta post about what to do with the links in question (and related ones)
    – cag51 Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 2:42

I created a Meta post to welcome and guide people visiting our site for this particular reason, collecting relevant questions and giving instructions for new questions. Please contribute, in particular by collecting relevant questions.


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