Misc. reflections on the close of Fall 2011

In no particular order (other than as they came to me while I was typing):

  • I did a lot this semester.   A LOT.  I am teaching an extra class, which was in some ways a good idea and many ways not.  Two of my classes were basically new, one brand “never been taught before by anyone” new and the other one might as well be new. I was a reviewer (although not an attendee) at HASTAC 2011— well, unless you count going out with folks I knew who were here.  I wrote up one (maybe two?  I can’t remember) external tenure reviews.  I started a blog on iPads (for a month) and did a talk about it.  I did the finishing touches and signed off on a book chapter (though note to self, I have more to do on that, it turns out).  I’m chairing a search.  I have (unwittingly and unintentionally) annoyed people.  And this is the stuff I’m just willing to mention in a list.
  • Oh, I helped run a conference that went really well.  More on that soon enough I am sure– we are very late in generating a summary report on all that.  Oh, and we moved back into Pray-Harrold, which had its own set of issues (though it’s mostly a lot nicer than it was before).  And just as part of my every day work, I’m still the program coordinator, which means paperwork, advising, running meetings, scheduling, etc.
  • In any event, I mention all of this stuff in those two previous bullet points to remind myself that there’s a reason why I am feeling a little overwhelmed/overworked right now, and I need to try to remember this as something to studiously avoid in the winter 2012 term.
  • For the most part, my students do not seem to like Google Docs much– or rather, I don’t think they like handing things in for me to comment on/evaluate with Google Docs.  I like it because I can see a history of what changes have been made, but as far as I can tell, many of my students don’t like it because they can’t control the formatting in a way that they’re used to doing.  Or maybe they just don’t like it (well, many, not all) because it’s doing something different from what they’re used to with MS Word.
  • I think the point in time where my English 354 class started to “come together” was with the last assignment.  In fact, when/if I teach this class again, I think I’ll start with this assignment first in order to establish the need in a class like this for students to “play” with the tools and try to re-think and re-visualize the way they use things like word processors.  I mentioned this to students yesterday and they thought this was a good idea too.  And while I’m on the topic, I think an online version of this class would be a good idea….
  • I don’t think I was at my best in English 328 this semester, and I kind of feel like the general sentiment is that this is a course in need of a major overhaul.  That’s a faculty group project coming up this winter.
  • I haven’t seen class evaluations and I haven’t yet read their projects or the take-home final, but I’ve heard indirectly good things and I’ve had pretty good feelings about the way that English 621 went.  Honestly, at this stage, I don’t think I will do a whole lot different in that class when I teach it next fall though a lot of what was great about it this semester was a group of students who will (hopefully soon) be getting on with finishing up their degrees and on with their post-EMU lives.
  • I am very much looking forward to next term where I am not teaching an overload and where I am teaching online and in a hybrid format.  Oh, I’ll still be busy and coming into work plenty for meetings and advising and the like, but I am quite certain I will not be around as much as I was this term.  And while I would like to spend my time right now planning for next term and getting on with some other projects, I need to first worry about actually ending this term.  So back to that.

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