Am I ready for a new semester? I suppose I am as ready as I will ever be. Summer was good overall. I took time to redesign my apartment a little, for example, and I am still working on that. (The last phase will arrive on Wednesday and be implemented on Friday, I hope.) I will certainly miss the mornings of reading what I want while I drink coffee in front of an open window. I will miss picking out books to read at the public library downtown. I will miss going shopping at the mall during the weekday because I can and I have the time. I will miss going for walks and the park and swingsets. Yes, I still enjoy swingsets. Don’t judge.
But my feelings don’t stop the approaching semester. The only thing that could stop the approaching semester is perhaps a crazy flash flood and the Red rising to something like 44 feet. This isn’t going to happen from the looks of things. In fact, classes start at four pm today. My first class is tomorrow at 2pm. My first day of teaching online is today and my first day of teaching in the real time classroom is Wednesday. With this in mind, I have set some goals for this new academic year. I like to split these goals into goals for my professional development as a teacher and my goals as a student. Though they overlap in some cases (which is undoubtedly helpful) they are still very distinct.
- For 358, I want to improve the following assignments: Genre Memo and Final project. Though I am always improving assignments, I want to work on fixing the flaws I see in these for the present school year. I’ve implemented changes to the final project this fall whereas Genre Memo improvements are coming out for Spring 2011. I’ve also deleted the book review assignment and replaced it with a Forum Analysis, which I am confident will rock. Of course, as soon as you say “I’m confident it will rock” it means that it will not rock so much. But remember, I’m an optimist at heart.
- 358—Focus more on professionalism and design. To do this, I have instituted a new assignment (Forum Analysis) that will hopefully lead them toward research ideas and further their scholarship and understanding of their field. I also have a unit on cover letters/resumes along with information for applying to graduate school. As for design, I have come up with a couple new lesson plans to better teach this. Being someone who never took a design class and kind of functions through the idea of design, I have a lot of work to do. (Actually, my goals in student/scholarship will also help with this design thing.)
- 358—Improve the way I teach genre. I already have some good ideas thanks to Doc Mara for helping to inspire this with the reading he had us do for the UDW workshop day and the discussion we had as well.
- Online Crookston course—this semester I’m teaching Composition II instead of World literature (I’m scheduled to go back to world lit in the spring. I have no idea if I will be teaching Comp II each fall. We’ll see.) With this change, I’ve set up a way of doing peer review on the discussion boards in Moodle instead of having students do this relatively privately in their groups. This allows for more accountability and makes grading this easier for me.
- And of course, just be a better teacher than I was before. This goal is pretty continuous. I learn from my students just as much as they learn from me, I think.
- And I wish we could get rid of Blackboard at my home university. If only this could be a goal we all could achieve in this academic year. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Ugh. I. Detest. Blackboard. Moodle is superior. Even D2L is better than Blackboard. Kids these days. Really.
- Finish up that essay on using literature in the writing classroom and submit for publication.
- Kick ass in my coursework. I’ve done well in this so far. I hope this continues.
- Solidify my potential dissertation topic a little more. I’ve talked to some people about this last spring. I’ve bought some books. I’m terribly interested in taking history of architecture I and II at my home university.
- I’ve gotten super interested in the history of rhetoric, so I plan to do a lot of reading into this. I hope this will also be complimented by my English 754 course. (It probably will, to an extent.)
- Hopefully submit a proposal to a conference and actually get to present. I presented at conferences last year and I hope to do just as many for this year.
And above all, survive all of this relatively unscathed. 😉