The View From 32


SEPTEMBER 13, 2007  

The computer is down, woe is me.

When you're teaching a hybrid course, meaning that students complete & submit a lot of their work online, when the computer is down it's pretty hard to do things like grade assignments, read discussion board postings, etc. So when I tried logging in at 8:30 a.m. and could get connected I quickly called the 24/7 Helpline. The best answer they had was, yes, the computer is down, and no, we don't know when it will be back online.

Since I end up working right up until the start of class most days this put a serious crimp in my plans. Luckily I"d printed out the HTML of many students' web pages so I could look them over and write comments on them while sitting at the kitchen table. Later I discovered that my laptop at home was miraculously still connected since last night to Blackboard, our online course management system. So I couldn't make a new connection at any other computer, but I could still work with the one started last night.

Ended up that I could do most of what I needed on the laptop. Somehow, though, for the second day in a row I've felt like I'm running incredibly behind already, even though it only the third week of the semester. I've been in this teaching game for more than 10 years full time, and quite a few more part-time. Why am I unable to get things done early? You'd think I'd have figured out how to make things less stressful, but apparently not.

The best I can say is that part of it is I up the ante a bit from semester to semester. I get basic things under control so then I decide to add a little more, like putting student grades online right away so they can track their progress. That's not quite up & running yet, but I'm close. For the Web I class I've got their homework online via a class site here in week three, whereas last semester it took several more weeks before I got to this point.

Still it seems like I shouldn't have to work every night and morning to keep the whole show running. Although I love my job 90% of the time, every once in a while I wish it was the kind that you leave behind when you walk out the door. I'm thinking about mine just about all day every day. Except, of course, for those vacations. Those extended stretches of time off in the summer and between semester make the rest of it a whole lot easier to take. I'll stop complaining now.

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