Single Status Update
Life on the university campus:
(Spring 2021 Semester, first posting)
One week down, only fifteen more to go:
January 11th was the first day of classes at the community college and the university where I teach. The university classes are web-based, so nothing really different for this semester. The community college courses, which I am teaching four this semester, are a mix of online and traditional courses with one being a "modified hybrid." The courses I teach on Monday and Wednesday, in person on the campus, are World Civilization to 1500. Sure, it is a survey course designed to get students aware of the happenings during that period of history.
The first class met without incident. Out of 37 students who registered for the course, there were 32 that did attend the first lecture (34 attended the Wednesday lecture, which I consider a win!). The second class had its issues. Out of the 28 students who registered for the course, 16 attended the first meeting and 18 attended the second (not a win). Come to find out, a few of the "missing" students were told by their advisor that attendance to any course on campus is optional as long as COVID-19 precautions are being followed.
No, not exactly true. The advisor was way wrong. Students had a choice to either take on-line classes or traditional classes. If they elected to take a traditional class, they are expected to wear a mask in all buildings, to sit in classrooms according to the "space designation" sign in the room (each room has a sign that shows the maximum number of students because of COVID. They've also put signs on certain desks that read "DO NOT SIT HERE." traditional courses are within the mandated COVID safety precautions). So, with that said, yesterday I was bombarded with emails from the wayward and misguided students. I'm not mad with the students - but I am upset about administrators who do not appear to pay attention to the administration's emails discussing various guidelines and policies put into place.
"Changes in attitudes, changes in latitudes..."
Yesterday, I also spent time dealing with a student who had to take an incomplete in one of my courses. I allowed her to have the incomplete because her family was impacted by COVID last semester. Well, yesterday, she informed me that she thought that if she took the incomplete, I would automatically give her a "C" for her grade. No, that's not how an Incomplete works. On your transcript, you get an "I" until you complete the work OR your one-year period expires. If you do the work, you get the grade you earned. If you don't do anything, I revert the "I" to whatever your grade was before the incomplete was assigned. You do not automatically get a "C" in the course.
For those of you who are Jimmy Buffet fans, you probably understand the meaning behind that title. If we didn't go crazy we would go insane. In addition to the incomplete, I was asked by another student (who is taking my class for the second time) if he could simply recycle his project paper. Um, no. New semester and new topics for the papers. This young man had an epic meltdown about how unreasonable am and how people like me make his life difficult. I couldn't restrain myself - I actually laughed out loud and in front of him when he said it. I know it isn't the best thing to do but it happened.
At any point in life, when we fail at something, we must examine why we failed. One of the sadder aspects of modern American education are those who believe we need to try to find a way to pass every student so we will not hurt their sense of self-worth. The problem is students, such as this young man, are missing out on a vital skill - self examination. I am thankful that I'm of the older crowd that were allowed to fail. And yes, failure hurts but it teaches us about ourselves. It also teaches us to evaluate why we had the outcome we have.
That's one of the things about Kerbal Space Program - it forces us to look at our failures. It's nothing in this game to spend a few hours designing a craft, launch it, and find out in less than five minutes Jebediah's gonna die! For me, I laugh it off, revert, and start all over again. A friend of mine at the university told me he plays for a while, has a craft malfunction, and then he quits playing KSP for months at a time. The last time he quit was right after Making History came out. He had no idea until last week there was another DLC AND more stock parts and features to play with. Yes, he is nearly 20 years younger than I am and has told me he thinks the game is "unforgiving" of minor mistakes.
Well, join the club. Life is unforgiving of what we think of as minor mistakes.