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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekend Warrior ... sorta

I spent a number of hours yesterday during the blizzard coming up with the remaining course materials that I've been feeling anxious about. As far as I can tell, I now have everything I need not only for the students but for my own organizational requirements. If I didn't have such a completely disorganized brain, I wouldn't have to be so organized, but the fact that I was already worrying about the plate-spinning, pearl-strand-snapping kind of thing in the first few days of classes is an indication of just how messy my mind is (visually represented by the state of my desk and office bookshelves). I feel slightly less messy: all the snarls combed out to the best of my ability.

I also had to spend a good chunk of time today fixing a problem with the course materials on Blackboard. I didn't realize that when I copied stuff from one semester to the next, all the release dates would copy too, so students were sending me frustrated e-mails saying they couldn't access discussion boards. I finally called the university system's help desk--and to my great pleasure, they actually called me back today (it was getting close to their close of business time, so I was worried they'd try to reach me tomorrow...). It wasn't a difficult fix, but it sure as hell was time-consuming--especially as I realized I had copied some things three times over (even after we were warned about that), so I also had to delete duplicates, and it took me a while to figure out that I didn't have to do that one at a time but could delete bunches.

The only howling error in all this is that, in trying to "clean up" a student's post, I accidentally deleted it. He'd posted twice: once with just his name and the title of his post, then a second time with the actual content of the post. I didn't realize that he'd done the second as a "reply" to the first, so in trying just to delete the first, essentially empty, post, I ended up deleting the entire thread. I posted a "response" to him, in which I explained what had happened and apologized--and I actually did respond to what I could remember of his post. I hope I didn't inadvertently erase anyone else's post in deleting the duplicate discussion boards.

Clearly I'm not ready to go fully online yet. I'm not even working with the really meaty stuff yet, and I'm making blunders like that. But I do feel I'm ready to take the more advanced workshops: I have enough experience with the stuff that I think it won't be long before I am ready to take the plunge--and propose an online version of one of my favorite courses.

I had a momentary freak-out today when the class count in the M/W 101 had gone from 18 to 25: yikes! It's back down to 23, but the "add" period doesn't end until midnight tomorrow, so heaven knows what could happen between now and then. I'd think that the two who were briefly in the class and are now gone again were dropped because they hadn't paid their tuition bills--but they have until the next business day, which is tomorrow, so that can't be it. Maybe they were warned...?

The lovely thing is that the snow has saved me from having to get up an hour earlier than usual in order to make copies of the material for those additional 101 students. Classes don't start until 12:30, so even if I do go in to Advisement for an hour (which seems sort of silly to me), I don't think I have to be in at my usual time: faculty advisers work according to faculty schedules, so if classes aren't being held, I don't have to be on campus--and that means I can go in later than usual and still have plenty of time in which to make the copies, maybe even do some other organizational work in the office, which would be heavenly.

Now, however, it's time to turn my brain off. More tomorrow, y'all.

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