Next Up!

Well, I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I’ve had an awful time of keeping my own Blog schedule over the last few weeks, especially on the weekends. After not missing a post deadline for 18 months, I seem to have hit some kind of wall and can’t make it through a week with all of them on time.

Truth be told, I had an idea that this was coming, which was behind the call in my FDW presentation for decentralizing things a bit (and you can see how that turned out), but even then I didn’t quite anticipate some of what the last few weeks have had for me–surprise projects, various illnesses, unexpected responsibilities of various sorts, dead people, etc. I’m not complaining, I’m just sayin’, is all. Halfway through the term, I feel like I’ve been underwater for the last four weeks or so and not quite able to keep up with anything; but that, as the Chairman of the Board sometimes said, is life. I’m hopeful that in the second half of the term, I’ll have a somewhat different feeling about things and be able to keep up a bit better. And if not, I’ll blame weather.

Anywho, by my reckoning I owe y’all a pair of Think, Know, Prove posts, one Faculty Council Corner (my bad on the Candidate Forum request, Realist–a good idea misplayed by me, a dropped ball as it were, an error for which I apologize), a few What Up?s, and I’ve got a huge back up in my own reading and suggestion list/postings, not to mention more than a few comments out there to which I’d like to respond (I’m coming Avramakis! You, too Chris!) and all sorts of things that need more opining upon, and, of course, more than a little grading to do.

So it seems, therefore, to be a perfect time to throw to The Realist for some mid-term Shenanigans, while I try to take care of some business.

Thanks in advance, Realist. Take ‘er away…

Monday Music: Mid-term Edition

Monday Music is a regular feature whose goal is to provide you with some music to get you fired up for another week of doing the yeoperson’s work of educating the citizenry. Requests welcome!

Yeah, like you need me to remind y’all that it’s week 8 which means, grading, grading, and more grading.
Fear not! PhiloDave agreed to have some of this week’s posts be related to givin’ faculty a break.

Today’s Monday Music selection is less about the music and more about the video. From what I gather it’s been a hit in the classrooms on the 8th floor. High five to Armen and all the folks in the Art and Architecture Department for bringing this to our attention. Enjoy and have a productive week!

Tuesday Teaching Question

So we’re in Week 9, and mid-term grades are due next Monday. I’ve had a few students ask, “How am I doing so far?” this week, and I tell them. I announce to the class when their mid-term grades are turned in and that they can find them on by the end of the week that they’re turned in.

Last semester I even (finally) figured out how to post them on Blackboard in the gradebook.

Every year I think about doing more, though. I’d like to hand each student a card with their attendance, their other numbers and some sort of affective feedback (smiley face, frowny face, etc.), but it’s usually about all I can do to get the grading done. I’d really like to have some sort of giant data set (something that says the average attendance for students getting an A at the mid-term was XX% & students getting an A were a jillion times more likely to visit during office hours, etc.), but that isn’t going to happen until I get a lot more organized.

In the spirit of brainstorming and goal setting, though, I’m wondering what y’all do with your mid-term grades. How do students get them? What other information do you give? What do you do and why? And what would you do if time (and load) were not an issue?

Halfway There

It’s the end-ish of Week 8, people. That makes it the midterm. According to this article, that means it’s time to take stock of our classes and our progress (while our students take stock of theirs).

We all need consistent feedback (from ourselves and others) and the reality of academic life is that if you don’t proactively create feedback loops, you’re unlikely to get the type of information you need to take control of your work life, teach efficiently and well, and enjoy the job you’ve worked so long and hard to obtain. …In other words, the middle of the semester is a great time to ask yourself and others:

  1. Am I on track?
  2. What’s holding me back? and
  3. How can I make a positive change?

The article has some interesting advice for soliciting feedback from students (and others) to make the most of the second half of the semester (for all involved). But for me, the ultimate message of the mid-term is this one…don’t give up, people; don’t give up…

h/t to Ivan Tejeda for the musical suggestion.