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.

--John

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Thank you for letting us know about the meeting a little earlier this time! It makes it much easier for me to be in attendance.