The new normal – Day 25

April 10, 2020

Dante Harrold, Perspectives Editor

Editor’s note: “The new normal” is a continuing series that looks into how members of the Los Medanos College community are coping with a shelter-in-place order amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the academic plans and lives for most of the Los Medanos College community. Department of Philosophy head Professor Edward Haven has felt its impacts himself. 

“We have had to move everything online. Lucky for me, philosophy is an engaging topic full of interesting questions to discuss. Most of the material has moved to discussion boards,” said Haven. “This means I am doing less lectures and more making space for meaningful student conversations.”

He explained how the shelter-in-place order has affected his classes and the way he is teaching for the remainder of the semester. 

“I can make the videos and discussions well in advance,” said Haven. “When I was teaching in the classroom I always had to spend a half hour before going over the material to make sure it was fresh in my head.”

Haven also expressed interest in how he could connect the pandemic directly to his course material. 

“Given what is happening now, we will be adding a week on pandemics to my BioEthics classes,” he said. “I am excited to dig into the philosophical literature on this.”

Haven has tried to be optimistic due to staying home from the county’s order. For instance, working from home means less driving for him. 

“I commuted from Sacramento, so it cut down on my commute time. I now have an extra 12 hours a week [of] no driving, which is good,” he said. “It is harder to have a schedule. I often wake up and jump straight into student emails or making a morning announcement for the newly-activated material. But in return my afternoons are more open. I find myself doing more creative work and writing in the afternoon.”

Haven also revealed sadness at losing the sense of intimacy the classroom setting offered. 

“I miss seeing my students in person, whether in class or in the halls. I think there is a real connection when students can drop in and talk,” said Haven. “I also miss participating in the philosophy club. It is a great group of students who will talk about anything, so the conversation is always interesting. More personally, I am an introvert, so I love just being home.”

Haven’s way of starving off boredom during this pandemic will probably sound relatable to many. 

“I have been catching up on shows I like to watch,” said Haven. “I also found the amazing show Taskmaster. Finally I am playing video games. I finished up Fallout 4 and right now I am enjoying Stardew Valley, which I found from an episode of Nora from Queens.”