New Google Meet Features in Google Classroom

A new dialog popped up in Classroom today with some very welcome changes, the most welcome of which is the first:

Teachers or co-teachers are always meeting hosts: This is what has been needed for years now. Until now, unless an admin made some obscure setting changes across the whole institution, there was no reliable way to ensure a teacher would be the meeting host. The biggest problems caused by this was the entire meeting closing when the randomly-assigned host dropped from the meeting, and the ability to record and location of saved video file also being assigned to that person (usually a student).

Students will be sent to the waiting room until a teacher is present in a meeting: I would actually prefer this to be optional since there are times when I want the students to work without me before I join. I also let students practice presenting in our designated meeting room when I’m not there. I guess they can do it in a different room, but why not make the software more flexible and accommodating to as many situations and users as possible?

Video participants outside of your class can ask to be admitted by the host: This might be convenient once in a while, but honestly, it makes things less secure (because before this change, nobody could get in my university’s online classes without a university email address), and I suspect it won’t be trouble-free, either. Permissions problems across all systems are just too common.

The next improvements I really want to see for Meet are breakout rooms, more admin controls, and improved latency… Zoom still functions much better and is less laggy. The real improvement many need for Google Classroom is the Gradebook – this needs to be more directly editable and downloadable in a useful spreadsheet with everything contained therein. The way it works now is like a beta version of a janky ad-supported website built by a three person company on the weekends, not the big G.

Online learning

Saw this in my feed and it made me smile because my daughter had to sit next to me and take a swimming class online last term. The current term ends this month, and the kids in Thailand may be going back to school from next term, but who knows? A lot of it depends on if they actually get vaccinated or not (there’s still not enough of any kind to go around and the only one proven safe for kids is still Pfizer – which is in very short supply), but it’s been a while now.

Thai Japanese English Lorem Ipsum WordPress Testing

1か月あまり名古屋に居たことがある。 そこで私たちを待っている幸福が、私たちが望むような幸福ではないかもしれない。 いろいろな意味で、正直が最善の策であることは言うまでもない。 すぐに戻ります。 イメージはマスコミの情報に形成される。 ABC社のガードナー氏は、2月20日から27日までマリオットホテルに滞在中で、ぜひあなたに会いたいとのことです。 ああ、怖かった。 「怒ると彼はトラになる」というのは隠喩の例である。 いや、大丈夫だ。 いいからさっき盗ったモノを、カバンの中から出しなさい。

รีทัชฮิรุมบ้าออร์แกนิคสไตรค์ สเกตช์พุทโธคาปูชิโนชัวร์ ตนเองเธคดีไซน์ทาวน์เฮาส์ เห่ยอิออนโอเปอเรเตอร์ หม่านโถวเพลย์บอยล็อบบี้ ห่วยคอนเทนเนอร์คาแรคเตอร์วอลล์ บูติกรามาธิบดีอัลมอนด์รีสอร์ตช็อป เปราะบางตัวตน ฮิปโปโค้ชเมเปิล เลดี้ปฏิสัมพันธ์กาญจนาภิเษกสลัมแจ๊กพอต แทงกั๊ก อีโรติก สเปก ไกด์เหมย ป่าไม้โหลยโท่ย ไทยแลนด์สามช่ารีโมทกราวนด์

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Apex DLL issue?

After recently installing a game (maybe Apex Legends on Steam), I tried opening my default graphics editor and got a weird Windows dll error. If you get a similar one that says:

The program can't start because VCRUNTIME140.dll is missing from your computer. Try re-installing the program to fix this problem.

or:

The code execution cannot proceed because VCRUNTIME140.dll was not found. Reinstalling the program may fix this problem.

You can probably fix it by replacing the missing dll file or reinstalling the appropriate Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable package. I remembered seeing a Visual C++ installer before a game install so I just tried the latter first and it worked:

See?

Online Teaching at Thai University

The biggest COVID wave so far spread through Maha Sarakham from a couple months ago, so my university postponed the new term until this week. I’m teaching four Public Speaking classes per week online. This is what a typical class looks like, with about 2/3 the students:

I removed all info except for one student who worked too hard on their name for it to go unappreciated. Please note the green article of clothing is not a vest, which I will have to ask about in a future session..

I tell them they only have to turn on the camera when they speak because some of them are on weak connections or are connecting through mobile data plans, and it might save them money as well as improving performance. Thailand has good connectivity, though, and a lot of businesses share free wifi, so I use the first week to pinpoint who has internet problems and suggest they find a better hotspot or solution.

There are a lot of problems teaching online at a Thai university. The biggest problem is net connectivity and speed. The second biggest problem is that the university staff and teachers are horrible at teaching and doing their jobs. Doing it online just compounds the issues.

One of my current side hustles is teaching teachers how to teach online and helping them get set up at home. Some of these teachers are still doing grades by hand (even when teaching online with every grading management tool available), so you can imagine that the transition is rough. The IT staff are so bad at their jobs, they can’t keep our website up for everyone to register for classes or make class changes, haven’t figured out how to install a security certificate in the ~20 years they’ve had the domain, and can’t even issue student ID numbers or email for freshmen before the term starts (which are necessary to register for classes and to attend online classes). There are also problems on the student side, but now, well into the second year of online classes and lockdowns, most have figured out how to at least attend their teachers’ pathetic online lectures, and that online classes are actually a good way to try and get their parents to pay for an iPad (definitely not required).

Nam and I love teaching online, though. Before we started, I had already set up a Twitch streaming system for Mina with condenser mic and various cameras, so we adapted that and added to it over time. This is what my setup looks like now.

The flight controller is useful for navigating never-ending online meetings.

On the vaccine front, I went in to get a Astra Zeneca jab at the vaccination center set up at my university a few weeks ago, and was told at the last stage (there were 3 stages to navigate), “no foreigners!” So, fuck them and their jelly vaccine shots, I guess (a bad batch of vaccines in Thailand was recently found to have turned into gel). Nam and I have paid a private hospital the full price for 2 Moderna jabs each – 3,400 baht/person. No telling when the government will get off its ass and actually get these vaccines delivered, but we are told, “as early as October.” Looks like all of my classes this term will be online!