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I’m back (I think)

Topics/tags: Meta, short

As some have noted, I did not muse or rant during spring semester. Let me clarify; I did not write or post musings or rantings during spring semester. Anyone who has talked to me at a faculty meeting knows that I continued to rant; a few people know that I also mused internally one a wide variety of issues.

Why didn’t I write? It was mostly an issue of time. I was teaching two heavily revamped courses during spring semester semester, neither of which was really ready to go before the semester started. I think I averaged between two and three new readings to write each week, and between two and three corresponding labs [1]. Many homework assignments, particularly those for CSC 151, take a significant amount of time to write, since I also need to generate supporting code [2].

My highest priority is time with my family. My second highest priority during spring was making sure that my classes were ready. My third highest priority was my host of professional obligations [3]. I also needed to get grading done. And, well, I did (and do) need some time to myself once in a while. That’s enough that I was always behind. So I couldn’t really spare the hour each night to write; writing time needed to be spent on my classes [4].

Somewhere in the middle of the semester, I started to write a still on hiatus post. Why? A number events suggests to me that I shouldn’t have left the musings behind. A new colleague dropped me a note saying Thanks for writing about preregistration; it was helpful. Surprisingly enough, our director of institutional research thanked me for the historical piece on end of course evaluations. In class, a student said something like I hear that you wrote a ’blog post about dining services. Tell me more [5,6]. A student I didn’t know told me they appreciated that same post. A parent of an alum sent me a Facebook message asking when I’d start writing again. A few colleagues asked me the same question.

My original thought was that once I survived the semester, I would start musing again. But, well, things came up. I had to clean out the hoarder’s den that is my office [7]. I volunteered to serve as a table leader for the AP CS Principles reading. I packed up an moved to a new office. But now I’m now ensconced [8] in my new office and ready to start again.

I’m sad that I wasn’t able to write some of the musings I had planned for spring semester. I did not have the time for my regular reflection on preregistration [9] or the long-promised reflection [10] on end-of-course evaluations [11]. I neglected to write something about our wonderful graduating seniors. I also feel bad that I have not mused about a colleague who just received her Ph.D.; that’s on my agenda. I had also hoped to write about the wonder that was Salt Marsh Suite; I haven’t been so moved by a performance in some time. I attended four performances; I wish I’d been able to make it to more.

But I feel like I’m ready to resume writing. I’ve missed it. I know I had a large backlog of topics. However, it seems like Im better off starting fresh, with a newsketchbook", as it were. What’s in that sketchbook? Not much, right now. But I’m confident that I’ll find something to write about each day. And, if necessary, I can go back to my long list of potential musings.

[1] And the corresponding code.

[2] Writing unit tests for the CSC 207 exams also took a lot of time. I tried to give students relatively comprehensive tests and a reasonable amount of supporting code, which also consumed time.

[3] This semester, SIGCSE Volunteer Coordination took some time, as did some SIGCAS responsibilities. After that, I spent effort on Tapia Scholarships. Now I’m back to new SIGCAS responsibilities.

[4] Or, perhaps, catching up on sleep.

[5] I thought the student was referring to my long rant on the cost of meal plans, particularly as compared to individual meals. But it turns out that I had also ranted about the amount of money we get when a student turns in a meal ticket for, say, a departmental picnic or a charitable event.

[6] I should probably include links to those pieces; however, I’m too lazy right now.

[7] You can expect a musing on that topic in the next few days.

[8] Is ensconced a word and does it mean what I think it does? Google says establish or settle (someone) in a comfortable, safe, or secret place. Yes, my new office is a comfortable place. However, I’m not sure that it’s safe or all that secret.

[9] Or on the renaming of preregistration to open registration.

[10] Or, perhaps, revised reflection.

[11] Unfortunately, frustration at the faculty vote to continue the use of EOCEs, even though they show clear bias, makes it harder for me to write sensibly. The struggles with our new electronic EOCE systems [12] will likely form another musing.

[12] Is that EEOCE (electronic end-of-course evaluation), EOCEE (end-of-course electronic evaluation), or EOCSE (end-of-course smart evaluation) [14].

[14] We use a product called SmartEvals. My initial experiences were not positive.

Original version (entitled Still on Hiatus) drafted 2019-04-27.

Version 1.0 of 2019-07-01.