August 30, 2019

From Gerald R. Lucas

Beginnings

What a week. Semester beginnings are always a bit hectic, but this one has been even worse.

Having two online courses with over twenty students in each presents unique challenges. Some of those students did nothing in the first week of class and were reported as no-shows. Man, that wakes them up. Now, I have to deal with paperwork. Procrastination and online courses do not mix. That said, most at least started to do what I asked them to do.

Reading is a challenge for all of us. Most students do not read the syllabus — evident by the questions I get, like “can I make up the quiz” or “why can’t I log into WikiEdu?” These questions are answered on the syllabus. I know, it’s a long document, and it gets longer each year. This is not my fault. The powers-that-be send a syllabus template out at the beginning of each semester, and the template grows and grows. I guess it’s like like those user agreements that we all skip when installing software: it’s a legal-ish document to protect the institution. Just another part of the corporate education farm.

The worst part was having the students move their newly created journals (all 40+ of them) from Wikipedia to a new server that I had to build literally overnight. Apparently, thanks to a student who complained, a Wikipedia admin became aware that I was having my students keep course journals under their user pages — strictly against WP policy. Even though these journals allowed them to become proficient WP editors and would lead directly to their editing of the mainspace, they had to be moved. Fine. My fault.

At this point, some of them are moved. And I think I have the support server running well. If nothing else, it gives me more practice administering a MediaWiki server. I’m becoming pretty proficient in the current practices of MW and web hosting. For example, this time it was pretty easy to get my secure certificate set up on a subdomain. While I think it would be cool to have my own Linux server again, I'm not sure I'm ready for all of that.

On top of all of this: I decided to move away from Gmail to my own email address. More on this later.

And, I have Mailer stuff looming on the horizon: papers to write, books to edit, a conference to attend, etc.

Like I said: hectic.