Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Trying to think outside the proverbial box - aka, is having to use Zoom a problem or an opportunity?

As the summer continues to hurtle forward far too fast (and, yes, I realize it isn't even June 21 yet), the fall semester NYU Tax Policy Colloquium is also growing near. Our first session will be held on Tuesday, August 25 (!!).

A couple of important points here:

First, it will be all-Zoom and only Zoom, even if NYU Law School sticks to its current plan of trying to hold some live classes on campus.

Second, I am delighted to be co-teaching it with Lily Batchelder again. She will be in Washington, not New York, although that is only one of the reasons why we are going all-Zoom. We would have done so in any event.

Third, we don't yet know WHEN the public sessions in the afternoon will be held. The PM sessions have always been from 4 to 6 pm EST. But a preliminary schedule we got from the law school indicated that it would be pushed back to the evening. Only, since that is based on the attempt to accommodate people safely in the law school building - requiring extended transition times between class sessions - we are hoping that we can move it back to the late afternoon given that we will be all-Zoom.

Our private AM sessions with students, by the way, also on Zoom, will be meeting on Monday afternoons. We are brainstorming how to make this as human and live-like as possible, given that we won't be meeting with the students in an actual physical classroom.

But here is the potentially great thing about the PM sessions. They can be attended by people anywhere in the world. We will send out our usual email invites, and people who say they are coming will be sent a Zoom invite. And these will indeed be Zoom sessions, not webinars, so people will be able to participate verbally and be physically viewable on-screen as they do so. Lily and I will both have sufficiently upgraded our Zoom games by then (we hope), so that we can properly host and maintain order while also making it as broadly participatory and community-like as possible.

Here are two questions for readers who think they might attend. (You can answer me by email, preferably to posting a comment on this blogpost.) First, since the PM session times are still uncertain, what sort of time would be ideal for you? We hope to find out soon whether earlier than in the old days is possible, no less than later. Obviously, if you aren't in the eastern US timezone, that is likely to affect your preferences, and we'd like to know.

Second, we always had small group dinners after the PM sessions, but that obviously isn't going to be happening this year. But here's a thought - what if we had a small group Zoom dinner or cocktail party afterwards? These of course are only notionally such - the idea is just that you might have your own drink or food while you Zoom-chat with the rest of us. We'd probably aim for a group about 8, would include some of our students (if interested) in that number, and might only do it in weeks when the speaker was interested in participating. But again, I'd be interested in hearing offline if that is of interest to anyone.

Finally, here once again is our schedule for the fall semester:

1.                         Tuesday, August 25 – Steven Dean, NYU Law School
2.                         Tuesday, September 1 – Clinton Wallace, University of South Carolina School of Law
3.                         Tuesday, September 8  – Natasha Sarin, University of Pennsylvania Law School
4.                         Tuesday, September 15 – Adam Kern, Princeton Politics Depa't and NYU Law School
5.                         Tuesday, September 22 – Henrik Kleven, Princeton Economics Department
6.                         Tuesday, September 29 – Leandra Lederman, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
7.                         Tuesday, October 6 – Michelle Hanlon, MIT Sloan School of Management
8.                         Tuesday, October 13 – Steve Rosenthal, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center
9.                         Tuesday, October 20 –Michelle Layser, University of Illinois College of Law
10.                      Tuesday, October 27 – Daniel Shaviro, NYU Law School
11.                      Tuesday, November 10 – Owen Zidar, Princeton Economics Department
12.                      Tuesday, November 17 – Abdoulaye Ndiaye, NYU Stern Business School
13.                      Tuesday, November 24 – Lilian Faulhaber, Georgetown Law School
14.                      Tuesday, December 1 – Erin Scharff, Arizona State Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

5 comments:

Jim Wetzler said...

Looks like an excellent roster of presenters.

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