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Showing posts from August, 2020

When You Can't Get Into Blackboard

Blackboard is the Ashland University Learning Management System (LMS) which we will be using to deliver a LOT of the content in this course. Here is a direct link to Blackboard . Your Username is the part of your campus email address before the @ sign. Your Password is the same password you use to get into your email. If your name is not on the official roster for our course, you cannot get into our part of Blackboard. If you are registered for our course and cannot get in, the Registrar's office and/or the Information Technology people in Patterson Hall should be able to help. Blackboard sometimes has trouble, especially in the first week because of the enormous amount of traffic. If you cannot get in, our course has an alternate web site , where you can find the syllabus (with all of the reading assignments) and assignments for all of the essays. Some advice Be patient. If Blackboard or your Internet connection don

How to Take Our Hybrid Course

  English 100 will be a bit like Harry Potter's hippogriff—neither horse nor eagle. It's neither a 100% distance education course nor 100% face-to-face, so we will need some special strategies to make it go. What you will see when you open Blackboard On the left of the Blackboard screen, you will see folders, one for each week. When you open a folder, you will see: A link which takes you to the assignment schedule for the week (really just a section of the syllabus) A link to a "Face-to-Face" video of me introducing the week One or more links to a narrated PowerPoint lesson on how to write a paper Links to web pages for the week A drop box for the week's writing A grammar quiz What you won't see on Blackboard Specific reading assignments in America Now or Writer's Reference (You will have to open the assignment schedule link or look at your printed syllabus for those.) The

Personal Interaction - What we lost

  I guess the whole point of all these Covid-19 regulations is to minimize (or eliminate) personal interaction so we don't infect one another. I understand that and I support it, but we humans were not built to live isolated in caves (or in bedrooms, looking at computer screens). College education, at its best, had a lot of personal interaction: professor/student and student/student. Here are some ideas for working around the restrictions: Weekly cohort meetings. Yes, they are required. The group will be you plus me plus four or five other students, and I will come in with an agenda, but this is also a time when we can chat as a small group (wearing masks and sitting six feet apart) about what you are doing. Office hours. My office is so incredibly tiny that there is no way for us to maintain social distancing, so I put "by appointment" in the syllabus. That's because I don't know yet where we can meet, but there is sure to be some place. I'll be on campus

The Basic Set-up of Our Course

This Fall, English 100 will be a hybrid course. This means that about 1/3 of our instruction time will be on campus in a classroom and 2/3 will be online. We are doing this to minimize the risks of transmitting the Covid-19 virus, while still giving you the advantage of a college campus course. Dividing the class into groups During the last week before class, you will receive an email telling you which group (cohort) you are in. Each cohort will have five or six students. The class meets in Dauch, where the classrooms have a normal capacity of 20-25 students, so you should have no trouble maintaining social distancing. Each cohort is assigned a day (Monday, Wednesday, or Friday) for your on‑campus session. Your class schedule should give you the room number and time. Attendance at these sessions is required. Important Note #1: These are assigned days! I don't want the entire crowd from one day drifting in on another day because you forgot or overslept. The idea is to ke

Internet Woes

Yesterday was a bad day on the Internet. My connection went down in the middle of the day and stayed that way for about an hour. It's been doing that, off and on, for some time now. You can imagine the result: no email (thank goodness!), no Facebook (a plus for my productivity), and no searching the Internet for cool items like that logo above.  The real problem, though, was that some applications (like Microsoft Word) wouldn't open because they need to verify with headquarters that they are not pirate copies. (OK—I know that I could use a copy on a phone because it can get Internet even if the local WiFi is down. But have you ever tried editing a large piece of writing on a smartphone?) Well that just threw a wrench into my machinery. We might have similar problems when school opens because EVERYONE on campus is trying to use the same electronic resources at the same time. (And some of you who live in rural areas with your parents never did have good Internet.) So here are my

Leveling the Playing Field

When you think about it, most of us have disabilities of some sort or another. I've worn glasses since I was eight years old, and this summer was the time for my cataract surgery. (My pre-surgery view of the world looked like a Monet painting.) Like you, I'm no stranger to physical problems with a classroom. Dealing with your issues First of all, nobody is going to chase you down and demand that you find help. They probably don't know that you are having trouble reading or hearing, so you must take initiative to deal with your issues. What you can do First, you need to figure out what kind of problem you have and how severe it is. Did you have an IEP in high school? Have you always had trouble seeing things from a distance? Here are some places to begin: Get an eye exam. There's nothing shameful or nerdy about wearing glasses. (Harry Potter wore them, and he saved the world.) Get your hearing checked. A family doctor can recommend specialists who do this. Get the c