An online student arrived at my office early for her appointment today. Her questions were straightforward and, for the most part, easily answered. When she’d called to schedule the meeting, she’d asked to borrow the first two texts, Barakat’s Tasting the Sky and Chin’s Other Side of Paradise. For some reason I agreed to loan the texts. During the course of conversation she noted the deterioration in registration processes and financial aid services in her three years at the college.
In the same conversation we experienced repeated unstable server-related frustrations while attempting to access a glossary of literary terms from a textbook publisher’s website and I noted a sample portfolio from an entirely different course was available in course resources instead of one from the most recent six-week summer session of the same class. I confessed that some of the irregularities were to be laid to my charge while others were simply to be tossed into the things-that-make-you-go-hunh bin.
Entering the office a minute before the appointed time, I was greeted by a former student who interrupted the scheduled appointment to inquire if s/he could add a section of another section of my courses. Lamenting the paucity of choices given our department’s decision to suspend eight-week course offerings until further notice, or until someone learns to schedule such sections in the recently adopted student and personnel management system, PeopleSoft, I suggested to the student that s/he attempt to regain admission to the course s/he’d dropped upon falling behind due to registration glitches and the resulting Angel access issues.
Students in the traditional College Preparatory Writing course I met this morning were delightful despite the previous week’s holiday and steep learning curve in a hybrid course that meets only once each week. The time feels far shorter than the 80-minute period allotted. We did manage to complete a freewriting, discussion, presentation from Student Success and Retention Services, troubleshooting of MyCompLab, submission of assignments as attachments, and a couple lecturettes on learning styles, desensitizing oneself to timed writing assignments, building from individual thought to reflection in context and community action. We even managed to spend about 15 minutes in teams and select which of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Course Objectives, textbook chapters, and MyCompLab resources the teams would be teaching before Colombo asked the question on everyone’s minds and the homework was announced. We ran out of time for Mr. Roger’s summary of random acts of scholarship but a general murmur of affirmation ran through the room when I explained the career-related books they’d be summarizing for homework would be worked into a skit during their Team-Teaching Collaborative Midterm Exam.
The next thing I’m waiting for God to settle is when, where and how to fit in four teams’ teaching, individual book reviews and service-learning. Writing that last sentence the order was revealed. Book reviews will happen before the Midterm and Service-learning afterward. I will use a class period or two to practice an exit exam and peer editing before Week 7 and the service learning proposals can be submitted before the first team teaches so that when all teams have finished, I can return the proposals for action. Thank you, Jesus!
P.S. After the meeting with students, a phone call with another, posting feedback to the Preparatory Writing students’ introductions and freewriting analyses, I felt an anointing to clean up my email inbox. We all received an email stating that a smooth migration to the more recent version of Outlook depends on our efficiency and readiness for the move. We were given step by step instructions on how to “clean up” our inboxes. I took the more quick and dirty slash and burn approach and deleted some 10K email dating from 2007 first via conversation, then according to sender, then by date. This took the better part of three hours. I feel thinner already. I am so profoundly grateful that everything I need has been added or subtracted to make room for the present assignment. And I credit the residual inspiration from the Ga ‘New webinar by Bev Hitchins, was it only last week or the week before?, on getting rid of clutter for entrepreneurs with playing a significant part in this move of God.