Friday, January 28, 2005

Flex Day

Actually, the college has three Flex days just before the start of each semester, but I attended only one of them this time: yesterday. I don't know what flex refers to unless it's the flexibility each of us has to choose what we want to attend -- or not! Basically, there are keynote speakers, training sessions, and division meetings. As long as I pick up at least one new good idea from each Flex day and see a few good friends, I'm happy. Frank Attoun announced that this will be his last semester as Dean of the Communications Division; he will then teach French and Spanish for the next few years before retirement. While he was speaking, I was thinking that this will probably be my last semester to teach at COD!

What did I learn yesterday? I learned how to convert my online class roster into an Excel spreadsheet. I learned that Houghton Mifflin has a website that will provide extra help and even live tutoring for my students because I use one of their texts. I listened to a man from Texas A&M speak about data and assessment, not just of the students in a particular class, but how an entire college or system could use data to drive their programs -- not just assumptions or surveys, but actual data. One interesting question he asked of everyone was if we knew which group of students (in our classes? in the whole college? or what?) included the lowest performers on a regular basis. No one answered, not even after 30-45 seconds of waiting! I think everyone had different groups in mind, depending on his or her teaching assignment. His question made me think of how few young men (black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or whatever) actually finish the courses I teach at the Indio center. Among my students on the main campus, I really can't say the same thing. It's not as clear cut.

I also picked up all the stuff I had sent off for printing -- it took two trips to get it all out to my car! Today I have been sorting it all out, checking each set off, filing everything away, and getting things separated to use next Monday. I can see about three things that didn't come in, so I'll have to double-check with the print shop on campus. Maybe I sent those in later or something. I don't remember! That's why I keep lists!! Anyway, my office is a complete mess again, but it'll clear up as soon as I get all these things put away. Office Depot has some square-bottom file folders; I need to get some of those for some of the thicker sets of stuff I have printed, such as the syllabus, the reading lists, and the sample MLA papers I distribute.

Onward ... to continue organizing this room so it isn't a mess anymore.

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