Friday, January 30, 2009

February Meetings Coming Up

Our February meetings will be held next week, Tuesday and Wednesday in SC 206 G/H, 5:00-6:30.

I'm happy to announce that we'll be joined this month by Forrest Williams, Chair, and at least one other faculty member from the Basic Composition Program. They'll have a presentation on recent developments in their program that in many positive ways reflect our own, and then lead a discussion and answer whatever questions you may have about the ways they're preparing students for our courses, the relationship between 089/099 and 1010/2010, and so on.

We should also have some time to discuss other questions and matters of concern regarding your classes, including folllowing up on last month's topics as necessary.

Please feel free to email me ( if you'd like any issues added to our agenda or have any questions you'd like us to address as a group. Otherwise, see you next week.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

downloading/starting micrograde

Steps for downloading Micrograde

Login to UV Link (use Windows Explorer rather than Mozilla)
· Open the help tab
· Open “Employee” file in Download Manager window
· Choose your platform (Mac/PC)
· Open Micrograde file and click on “Micrograde Setup exe
· Run installer

Setting up courses is pretty intuitive, and the micrograde program will walk you through each step:
· Name your course and term
· Select grading methods (points or percentages)
· Set grade standards (either confirm the default grade breakdown or adjust as you wish)
· Fill in grade categories and weights.
· Add student names to populate your class roster. Blackboard/Web CT users can import class roster into Micrograde, but in my experience, it simply doesn’t take long to type in student names.

Don’t hesitate to stop by or email if you have any questions about using the program.

Of course you need not use Micrograde, but you have to maintain a detailed record of grades --rather than final grades alone--over the term that you can give to Meredith after finals.

See you later--next month at the latest.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Welcome Back--January Meetings Next Week

Welcome back to campus. Hope your first classes--today, tomorrow, Saturday--go well.
I wanted to remind you that our first meetings of the term will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday, the 13th and 14th, from 5-6:30 in SC 206 g/h. As a reminder, and for the new instructors who are joining us this semester, you need only attend one meeting a month, since the content of each is roughly the same.

This month we'll be joined for the first part of the meetings by Professor Mark Crane, who will be talking about online technologies that facilitate communication between instructors and students, and between students themselves. I hope that--particularly since office space and predictable times are difficult to come by--emerging technologies will help mitigate the lack of physical space.

Also, we'll talk about maintaining grade books electronically. We'll be asking you to turn in a detailed grade book (rather than simply a final grade report as in the past), so part of the meeting will include an introduction to the Micrograde software--which is free and which I find pretty user-friendly--and to writing Excel spreadsheets--which Grant will talk about, particularly for Mac users. Certainly, we invite you to briefly describe your own book-keeping strategies, including keeping paper grade books, at next week's meetings as well. Any approach is fine, as long as you're able to provide Meredith an electronic or paper document with a detailed report of your grades.

Finally, I know a number of you were hoping to get additional classes, especially since there remains significant enrollment pressure this semester. Unfortunately, budget cuts have prevented us from adding more sections, so your schedules are most likely to remain as they are. We hope to return to being able to offer everyone the number of sections they'd like in the fall. On that note, because of the additional enrollment pressure, we're likely to face unusual pressure from students and administrators to over-enroll our writing classes in the first weeks of spring. Regardless of that increased pressure, we strongly encourage you to keep your classes at the enrollment cap (23 in regular classrooms, 20 in computer classrooms), using, if you'd like, the department's add policy as leverage. Copies of the add policy are in your mailboxes.

I think that's about it for now. Write me if you need anything in the first week of class--otherwise, see you next week. In case you reply to the email listserv, don't forget that when you reply to a listserv message, the default reply is to the entire list--so make sure you select "reply to sender" if you want your message to come only to me.

See you soon.