Monday, September 08, 2008

Scattered Thoughts for a Monday

I feel like I want to post, but I don't really have some burning thing I'd like to discuss, so I'm going to ramble here for a bit, and then I will go about the business of getting going with the things on my to-do list.

First of all, an update on the web-based course.

You will note that I'm not using the word 0nl*n& anymore, as apparently that invites the spam comments that direct people to Educational Institutions of Ill-Repute, and I don't want to be a part of that whole thing, nor do I relish the task of having to delete such crap. But so anyway, Week 3 of the semester is now underway, and I think I have a sense of how things are going and will go.

First, I am so glad that I took the advice of a colleague, who discouraged me from including any actual content material during the first week. Most of the students enrolled in the course are not familiar (or are only barely familiar) with web-based courses or with the technology that they require - even technology as simple as sending an email attachment that is readable by MS Word. Having that first week to get people up to speed was essential in terms of making sure that I didn't end up beginning already behind. I should note, my course is pretty low-tech, all things considered, in part because I ended up not having support I was supposed to have in terms of making it fancier, and in part because I suspected that the tech-savvy-ness of the students would be questionable.

Second, because I did so much ahead of time and because I thought very carefully about making the course as student-centered (and as manageable for me) as possible on the front end, it really is feeling not terribly burdensome. I'd estimate that I'm spending somewhere around 1/2 hour-1 hour per day dealing with the course, and then I spend maybe 3-4 hours one day a week really updating the course site, doing online office hours, etc. And that's it. There isn't prep in the same way as with a traditional class (as I had to read and watch everything on the syllabus ahead of time and all of the assignments are done), so truly, this is turning out to be less of a time investment thus far than "normal" teaching. The grading will begin this week (for the course blog), so we'll see how I feel once that gets underway, but for now, I'm really feeling pleased that I took on the challenge of teaching this course. I'll talk more about how I structured it and how it works as the semester goes on, if people are interested. I will say this: it helps SO MUCH that I've been blogging all of this time in terms of managing the blog as the central community space in the course. That part of things feels very familiar, and that is going a long way toward making this a positive experience for me and for my students, I think. Also, can I just say: the students in the class seem (for the most part) really great! They all seem excited by the theme of the course, and they seem to be enjoying the material and finding the prospect of what the course aims to do useful and interesting. I was in no way certain that this would be the case, so hurray that it is!

My three traditional classes.

Are all going fine. I've taught versions of them all before, and the start of the semester at least is pretty much a well-oiled machine. Things will get more interesting as I move forward (some changes after midterm) but basically for now it's smooth sailing and I don't have anything of note to report.


Well, to be honest, I'm in a lull. I've done with the final tweaking of the book proofs, and in theory the thing will be out next month. I'm waiting to hear back about that journal article I submitted in June, and it certainly would be nice if it were to be accepted, though if not I'll send it off someplace else. Still, it would be awfully nice if it were accepted, and very soon, too, as then I could include it in my tenure crap. It also wouldn't hurt in terms of beefing up my application for JWIBSNA.


Can I just say how annoyed I am that I'm applying for anything? But, one thing that is nice is that I'm pretty chill this year about the prospect of it going nowhere. This is different from previous attempts on the market in the past couple of years. I do want to do well this go-around, but I also feel like the chances of that are so small that I can maybe, I hope, not be an obsessive freak over the whole thing. Note: in writing about this now, I'm already probably being an obsessive freak. Whatever. The point is, after this year I know I'm pretty much locked in where I am (if I'm not already locked in given how far along I am on the t-t), so I might as well make one last pass through the assistant professor market, even if it's not a full or even small search but only one job. A variety of people have asked whether I'll apply for more, given that I'll already have to put shit together for this one application. Truth: maybe. I can tell you what I won't do: I won't talk myself into applying for random jobs that look great on paper just because I'm applying for this one. The appeal of this one job, aside from the good-on-paper-ness of it, is that it would be very easy for me to fall into a life in that location. I have no interest in packing my bags and hustling off to an unfamiliar location or to a location that takes me farther from family. I have no interest in starting completely over, in terms of my personal life. So. I'll see what's there when the list comes out this week, and then I'll make my requests for recommendations, and that will be that. I don't want to apply anywhere half-heartedly ever again. I've worked too hard for too long for that to be something I do. And I'm not applying for "dream jobs" just because they're there without taking the personal part of the equation into account. Let other people have those "dream jobs," I say. It's just not worth it. So probably JWIBSNA (a dream job in its own right) will come to nothing, but at least I know it would be a job that I'd really want and like a shot at. This is so different from how it felt applying last year and the year before. And maybe the reason I feel this way is because I've finally come to terms with my current location.


Dude, the going up for tenure thing is so weird! I need to get on the actual polishing of the binder, so it's not the act of putting the stuff together that's weird. What's weird is that there has been a total shift with many of my colleagues now that I'm in the final year, in which all of a sudden I'm getting all of this behind-the-scenes information to which I never before was privy. It is truly astonishing how clueless I've been over the past five years about the goings on with my colleagues. Astonishing.

Yep, so I think that's everything that's going on.

And now I need to do house-cleaning, shower, and go get my hair cut this afternoon. The hair, in case you were wondering, continues to grow, and I'm not yet feeling the urge to lop it off. I think that my ultimate aim is to have it exactly like this. Well, not exactly. Bangs that long would be impossible. But yes, that's what's happening hair-wise. And once I achieve that? I suspect I'll enter the phase of Growing out the Bangs, and then I'll do the Great Hair Transformation of 2009/2010, which will include cutting it all off.

I know, you have been dying to know my Hair Agenda. It's really something most people are feverish to get the inside scoop about.

But really, now. It's time for me to get to work. I'm ridiculously lazy, and this cannot continue.

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