I came in today primarily to meet with the helpful person from Distance Ed, operating under the assumption that I will be granted a stipend to create an online version of Nature in Lit--for which there are several bells and whistles I need to know about. What I found most interesting about that meeting was the ways in which I realize that I need to know why I want to create X-and-such assignment before I can choose which online tool will work best to accomplish what I'm looking for. There was one tool I didn't know about that could be very interesting: it's a function whereby I can post something (anything from a video or voice recording to a document) and students reply with voice messages, not in writing. It's not quite class discussion, but it's an intriguing alternative to discussion board posts--and a chance for students to participate without having to write all the time. Of course, my particular prejudices lead me to believe that students should write all the time--the more the better--but it is good to remember that some of them do better orally than in writing ("different learning modalities"), so as long as the overall goal is being addressed, it doesn't really matter what the "measurement" is (that is, the actual task that the students will do to show they get what they're supposed to get).
I hate it when I slip into Assessment-Speak, but like any other jargon, it is sometimes useful, as it provides specific names for the concepts or distinctions that we need to consider.
After that, I came back here to the office and have been cheerfully sorting through stacks of paper to decide what to file, what to discard--and where to file whatever is getting filed. I've started making individual folders for specific poems (unless there are two on a page), so it's easier to mix and match for future courses. Organizationally, that's great--but what's kept me from going any further tonight is that I ran out of folders (and I bought a huge box of them not too long ago). I also have started sort of looking at the old materials from 102s, deciding what I can keep and what to ditch. I'm still not all the way there in terms of the keep/ditch decisions: I'm going to have to do a lot of reconsidering, restructuring, reconstructing--and building new.
I'm actually looking forward to that process--but my first focus for the 102s needs to be deciding on the readings and getting readers out to be copied. I have no idea how many copies to get, of course (and I may end up not needing any, if my 102s don't run at all and I end up with 101s again), but I figure it doesn't hurt to have a bunch on hand.
I find that prepping a new semester is always difficult fun, if that makes sense. I find the process a grind, but it's also immensely gratifying. I have to keep reminding myself to prioritize: I still have another book to read and review before the end of June, so I might ought to take care of that first, before I get completely caught up in prep for September.
I have a doctor's appointment in the area tomorrow, as it happens, so I may well come back to the office after that appointment to do more clearing of the decks--and maybe even to embark a bit on that prep, just for giggles. Work truly is one of my narcotics, and I rather like that I'm not going cold turkey off it this semester but am rather gradually weaning myself off.
That said, if I'm in tomorrow, I'll post--perhaps briefly, but hey: I'll be in the office, and somehow it doesn't feel right to leave without posting to the blog.