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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Revisions of revisions of revisions

So, I did yet more reworking of the SF syllabus and the first essay assignment today, but I finally have them in good enough shape that I've printed them out and uploaded them to Blackboard. I didn't change the assignment schedule again (thank God), but I reworked a lot of the rules and regulations on both handouts. So, there's that.

Thinking about what I want to focus on tomorrow, there are two options. One is that I can create my copy of the syllabus, which simplifies what I need to remember to collect on each day--and reminds me what handouts I need to have ready to distribute by specific dates. I don't usually do that until I've finished everything else, but I need to look very carefully at what handouts I'm going to need--for the SF and the 101s--and make sure I have the most pressing ones ready to go. (I also need to contact Printing and Publications to find out whether I've missed my chance to have them do the copying I'll need for the first day of classes. We're supposed to send out "big" jobs to them, which is only feasible if one has the job ready to be copied in time--and knows how many copies to get, which I don't yet.)

The other option is to rethink the second and third essay assignments for SF. In the past, I haven't had any research requirement--and the official "Goals and Outcomes" are open enough to interpretation that I don't really have to have one. But I spent some time today finding sources on the first four books, so I could do what I've done in the past: provide critical material for essay 2, then make the students find it on their own for essay 3. It's good practice for the students, and this semester, there is the advantage of all my materials on Left Hand of Darkness, so students can use all the work I've already done to locate sources and don't have to just flounder around on the databases.

I'm still thinking about that. There are two main advantages to dropping the research requirement (even with all the help from me): one, it helps reduce the students' urge to plagiarize, and two, it gives them one less hurdle to get over. Of course, I can also make the use of critical material "recommended but not required"--and only about two students, if that, will use it, even if I provide it (but especially if I don't).

Well, hmmm. Thinking, thinking.

I'm also trying to figure out what to do about that wretched handbook for the 101s. I'm beginning to suspect that the Post Office has done their usual excellent job of fucking things up and put the delivery slip in someone else's box--which I know has happened before (and once, the person who got the delivery slip even picked up the package addressed to me--and never tried to rectify the mistake, so I never got my package). Either that or the publishers sent it by burro. I think I'm going to find out if the campus bookstore has it in stock and just buy a damned copy. If the one the publisher sent shows up, perfect: I'll have two. If not, I'll buy another later (so I have one at the office and one at home). In fact, I may buy two later, so I can donate one to the Library, in order to ensure that one is on reserve for the students who can't buy the book (or can't buy it on time).

Which reminds me: I never heard back from the circulations manager of the Library about putting another book on reserve for my classes. I need to give him a nudge soon--or contact one of my "friends" in the Library to ask for a little help.

See? Nothing is easy. Even the simplest thing turns into massive complication once it's in my hands....

I just took a look through the folder for the last time I taught SF, and apart from whatever work I need to do on the essay assignments (which could be extensive, especially for the final essay--though that will be based on when I taught the novel in 102), there really isn't a whole lot more that I need to futz with for this fall. Most of the handouts are generic, and for many of them, I already have quite a few copies already in hand. So I may have to turn my attention to the 101s, even without knowing the assignment schedule, and at least start working out my own sense of the process from preliminary version to final version of essays (conferences or no? how much can we do in class? how long do I need to mark things? that sort of conceptualizing). Cue the anxiety waves....

But tomorrow is tomorrow. I'm finished with work-work today (though I  may do some life-maintenance work). Tomorrow: we'll see, but I hope it's a productive day. Tuesday: no work, because I'll be on the beach with a friend. (It is still summer, dammit, even though I feel the semester rushing my direction.) And so on and so forth. If I work, you'll hear about it. And thanks for checking in.

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