My name is Confusion and I was just added to your section of College Stuff. I missed the first meeting because I wasn't enrolled yet, so I wanted to apologize and introduce myself. Also, what did the three of you cover yesterday?
I'll give her points for manners, but I don't know whose class she's in. I tried 3 drafts so far but no matter how I approach it, "which of us do you actually have?" comes out more harshly than I want. I'm picturing an enthusiastic freshman on her way to a performance of her fantasy teaching ensemble, and being disappointed by the 1-man show.
I also keep hoping Turtle and Canary will respond for me, but Turtle's been teaching before the advent of computers, so I don't think he even knows he has an email address, and Canary probably couldn't handle the stress and died.
Dear Confused, Lost, or Dazed,
One of you is in my section of College Stuff and sent a nice note about missing the first class. I went over my unique course policies, talked about what I consider an insightful and relevant analysis and then we had a brief discussion on the historical context of the first reading assignment.
Looking forward to seing one of you in the next meeting of the class,
I had a student send me an e-mail like this, addressed to several professors, asking us what book we require for our class. I assumed the student had all of us at different times and on different days. Before I was able to respond, one of my colleagues responded with the link to the campus bookstore and instructed the student how to look up the information for themselves. This saved me the trouble of responding, plus I learned a little something about how to respond to future inquiries.ReplyDelete
The really amusing variation is the "I must have a course override so I can add your closed section; only it will fit my schedule" email, sent to multiple professors teaching at multiple times, without benefit of bcc. Whether or not they are sent to multiple recipients, I've learned to respond to such emails with gentle reminders about the need to allow time for prep, and inquiries about how the student is planning to do that. After some years, I've yet to receive a reply to such an email.ReplyDelete
"but Turtle's been teaching before the advent of computers, so I don't think he even knows he has an email address,"ReplyDelete
Let's hope she's in your class where she can learn ageism.
Ah yes. The correct answer to the eternal question, "How many xx does it take to screw in a light bulb?" is "That's not funny!"Delete
That's xxism. How dare you imply that xxes are incapable of self-deprecating humour. Your a xxist. [sic] I demand an apology on behalf of xxes everywhere.Delete
Got it--only a few people can comment here....Delete
Mmm, no, everybody can comment. Only a few to none can comment without others commenting on their comment. The situation is far from censorship.Delete
So, back to the sentence in question, which made me smile fondly because of how at my uni, a time-worn, now-former department head would have his secretary print out his email along with opening his snail-mail. He'd hand-write the responses and she'd type them and send them. For most intents and purposes, he could be ignorant to the existence of his email account. And nobody thought lesser of him for it.
I paid for my master's by working in a department office and using the employee tuition benefit. One of the faculty I supported refused to use his e-mail, so part of my job was to decide which department messages were really important for him and printing them and putting them under his door. Come to think of it, that would be super handy...guess he was pretty smart!Delete
Actually, I think you could kick the ageism up a notch, because using email is like, so two-thousand-and-noughts! (I have no idea what the common alternative is, but that's what my students tell me when they say they didn't read the email that I sent them)Delete
The alternative: Pintstachatterbook.Delete
My response to claims that they cannot be held responsibe for what's in their school email on the basis that the medium is "passe" is that their perfect score may be a thing of the past as well: I give no opportunity to make up points to those who miss the first chance due to failure to communicate.
For a while, my department chair (who is a lovely person, but prone to Grand Sweeping Pronouncements) kept telling us that we MUST use Facebook to reach students, because e-mail was too old-fashioned for the younger generation. Then Facebook became too old-fashioned for the younger generation, probably BECAUSE now it was what all the professors were using to try to reach students. This isn't a race faculty can win; the cool new way to communicate is, by definition, the one where we aren't.Delete
Students are, however, perfectly capable of learning "The normal way that professionals communicate in setting X is Y; if you want to find out what's going on, you will check Y," and it is better that they do learn this lesson before they get hired into an adult job.
We have at times specifically told faculty and staff NOT to communicate school business through anything electronic save for email and bleakboard, as to not hew to that hard line would reinforce the idea that when it's important, we'll find the kiddies where they are, which means that what's conveyed via "official" channels is therefore not important. Plus, my joint's email account setup and bleakboard enrollment are tied to the registrar's records; Facebook et al. are not, so FERPA and intellectual property issues loom.
My pod captain is also prone to edict and fiat. Sometimes I am fortuitously in his office when the Next Big Email is about to be sent, and I am able to suggest that a draft be circulated for comment amongst the most curmudgeonly faculty before it goes to the people at large.
By the way, I, too, am an old fart who's been teaching since then.ReplyDelete
Got it-only a few people can comment here---Delete
Anonymous. Who's fucking stopping you? Are we not allowed to reply? What you may be looking for is a diary.Delete
There's nothing I find more galling than the person so keen to be victimized.Delete
I'm close. Mainframes are older than I am by good deal,but I got my first PC(jr) midway through undergrad, and learned to use email (pine, via modem, still on a DOS -- not Windows -- machine) toward the end of the on-campus portion of my grad program.Delete
And I know some young farts who are pretty resistant to various aspects of technology (e.g. online learning -- while there are some legitimate issues, in this particular case I suspect the problem is that virtual contact doesn't feed narcissism nearly as well as face to face).
I'm also sure that, when I (finally!) near retirement, I will begin thinking twice (or more) about which new technologies I really need to master. In the meantime, of course, as a middle-aged contingent faculty member, I try to stay reasonably au courant (but no, I don't use whatever's popular right now to communicate with students, because Porpentine's definition strikes me as correct).
My own major fear is that at some point we'll be expected to communicate nearly everything via video rather than text. I like text, and it travels quickly and conveys information well over a variety of platforms, connections, and situations. In fact, when we make videos, we then have to provide transcripts for accessibility purposes. So why not just write it down in the first place? If a video takes more than a few seconds to load, I just look for a transcript and read that. But videos are considered best practice in many situations; they're supposed to increase "social presence" or something. So I make a few of them each semester. But I'm also glad that I'm a writing teacher and can often say "this is a class about text; we're using text to communicate."
All of the above said, I laughed at the sentence about turtle, because yes, there are professors (and others) like that (I'm pretty sure my father handled email as Amelia describes for at least the first decade of its existence, even though he wrote things regularly on the computer). They're vanishing (along with professors who have secretaries, and don't type/keyboard), but they do exist, just as 100 year olds who embrace new technology eagerly exist.
I don't know why I'm bothering to respond when no one is taking that comment seriously anyway, but, for what it's worth, Turtle is an adjunct and I'm the one who scheduled him and I will continue to do so. When the tech guy came to ask for the schedules for everyone teaching the course I coordinate, so he could meet them in the fancy new classrooms and share the wonders of the new bells and whistles, I said "but leave Turtle alone. He won't use it. It's not his style. He'll get scared and he'll remind me I said he didn't need to use Blackboard and we'll lose him." Tech guy said "oh, one of those, I can fix him", and I said "He ain't broke, don't fix him. Just leave him alone. He's good".ReplyDelete
I like the Turtles of the world, and I really like that you let him do his thing, WotC.Delete
I'm sorry we didn't do a better job for you. I wasn't aware I had to solve the problem.Delete
What does that even mean?Delete
I wonder whether we've gotten to the point where we could sell student exposure to the occasional Turtle as a diversity initiative. It would certainly expand many students' horizons, as long as they kept an open mind, which is, of course, the rub -- but that's always the rub when encountering someone whose worldview is different enough to make one genuinely uncomfortable.Delete
Of course, if Turtle were 20 and had decided to dress in Edwardian clothes, travel via big-wheel bicycle, and eschew anything electronic, he'd simply be a hipster (or maybe a steampunk -- can one be both?), and very cool (and would probably have a book contract, or -- if he could tolerate the techy accoutrements -- a hit reality TV show/vidcast by now).
Wombat, I think it means that during a recent visit to a public restroom, you got some tissue stuck to your shoe, and now it is following you about like a comet's tail.Delete
What CC said. Everything old is new again.Delete
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