David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Week Five

 October 3,October 4, and October 5, 2012:  Inside the HEAD--Week Five (days twenty-two, twenty-three and twenty-four)

San Diego is too alluring.  This blog now covers three days!

I am at another conference.  In fact, as I type this I await sunrise across San Diego from  my hotel room high above the city.  Since yesterday was a travel day, I will submit an entry for yesterday and today. I will also plagiarize something I wrote for my work blog: A conference summary report that I put together after some of us went to East Lansing for a conference last week.  For those reading this not in the SMC family, the roadrunner is our mascot.


A year ago, almost to the day, we told you of the exploits of four Roadrunner Nation scouts pursuing the Student Success Summit.  This year a larger group, 6 in total, ascended that same peak, although severe weather must have blown it slightly eastward from the concrete jungle of Lansing to the green valley of East Lansing.

Our travel companions this time around:

Deerstalker Fleming, upgraded to Bearcrusher Fleming (there is a West Virginia reference in there somewhere);

Leatherstocking Topping;

Nutgatherer Carrico;

Dotconnector Horner;

Woundcleaner Jellison;

Gothictalker Sheets.

Our travelers came back with no diaries this time, just a conference program with the scawled "He is also a jerk" at the bottom of one presenter's bio.  NPR correspondent Nina Tottenburg has yet to confirm the identity of said "jerk."  Last we heard, Ms. Tottenburg had tracked him down as an instructor at a rival institution who had the gall to insult roadrunner nation through a snide comment to Gothictalker Sheets.  

Nutgatherer Carrico appeared to have had the opposite experiences, nearly swooning and fainting over the various commitments to data and offers to sit in on faculty members' classes on multiple regression.  (Heck, that could be Bearcrusher Fleming's autobiography title, Multiple Regressions.)

The other interesting aspect of Summit, Part Deux, was the camp area for our rustic crew.  We found ourselves in a maze of housing units that resembled student housing, not particularly the residence of choice, or perhaps the summer cabins of Meatballs II, or at least a bad Benny Hill sketch (yes, we know that is redundant).

Last year, the resulting effect of the summit was the original Ten Commandments for Student Success.  Facing a copyright infringement lawsuit, the travelers this year have produced The Student Success Bucket List. 

Student Success Strategies To Implement Before We Die

1.  Involve more adjunct through departmental meetings that they can actually attend, provide them office space, and even adopt one.  (Legal team to assess the challenge of common law adoptions.)

2. Create visual representation of college's efforts to link initiatives related to access, entry, teaching, acceleration and completion.  (Acronym of AETAC is currently being sent to the Sub-Committee of Committee Acronyms Review--SCAR--for analysis.)

3. Merge all advising tools into a handbook to support faculty advisors.  (Whether handbook should be put into ORC never to be seen again is up for debate.)

4.  Don't read the syllabus on the first day.  Find a "backdoor"--via discussion of student's perceptions of course content--to allow the syllabus to be shown at the end of the first day as reinforcement of what students will need to meet their perceptions.  (Bearcrusher Fleming feels like Beetlecrushed Fleming as he thinks fondly of first-day expectations material that contradicts this strategy.)

5. Develop more and better partnerships with the high schools, "collaboration councils," if you will.  (Bearcrusher Fleming has trouble reading his handwriting and first thinks he wrote "colostomy council," and almost calls Woundcleaner Jellison for a pass.)

6. Make college-level math relevant and transform the developmental classes to fit the college-level choices.  (Make math relevant!  Such blasphemy.  And we worried about using "The Ten Commandments" without copyright clearance?)

7. Recognize that community colleges are at the heart of student "swirl," a no longer linear path of high school to college degree through a single instititution.  (For those of us who played Dungeons and Dragons when we were in high school, "swirl" represented a much more distressing student experience, normally in the men's restrooms.)

8. Recognize that transfer agreements need to be "re-branded," especially because MACRAO means nothing to students, and program curriculum guides can actually discourage students from meeting MACRAO requirements.  (For the record, we think MACRAO is really an insurance company, cutesy animated raven mascot crowing about its rates.)

9. Accelerate, Accelerate, Accelerate.  I Can't Drive 55  kind of speed!  97% pass rate in at least one sample population.  (The Sammy Hagar reference is for Nutgather Carrico who apparently has "almost" touched shoulders with Mr. Cabo Wabo.)

 10. Use the academic warning system early and use it often.  Even waiting until the third week can be too late.  (Vince Tinto, the Summit's keynote speaker, was not shy about calling out one institution that talked proudly of how it started sending out academic warnings in week five.  This is why it pays not to raise your hand at these kinds of events.)

11. Find meaningful ways to incorporate interdisciplinary learning into all classes.  (One example was using The Hunger Games in Psychology class; what's next, using The Stand in Disease Overview?  Actually, that could be kind of cool.  Sign us up.)

12.  Invest, whether through teaching or support, in EDUC120 courses.  Student success courses help students set realistic academic and personal goals, help familiarize them with college services, and help them navigate their way through the entire college experience.  (When we were in college,  we had no such stinking course.   It was called LIFE!  Oh well, maybe if we did, we wouldn't wonder at our high school reunions what happened to derail so many of our classmates.)

October 2, 2012: Inside the HEAD -- Week Five (day twenty-one)

Is nothing sacred?  I mean it: is there nothing that is immune to the onslaught of Viagra and Cialis spam?

Getting support for faculty at SMC regarding our Moodle learning management system has been an on-going challenge.  I won't bore readership with details, but just recognize that there is a small percentage of faculty who have problems working with Moodle, getting stressed by the sometimes illogical trappings of a free service that equates to an unsupported (externally) system.  We have had dedicated staff and faculty to support our LMS users, but that has not been something we have been able to constantly maintain.

Noting that there are excellent forums at the Moodle.org site, but that they are cluttered with thousands of users from all over the world, with wide ranges of knowledge and comfort levels, not to mention using different versions of Moodle, I set up an internal Moodle Lounge for SMC faculty.  I can keep the population at that lounge in the manageable mid-100's, if everyone were to use it, can monitor it myself, and can send out emails to people who I know could answer the really technical questions and create the illusion of support.

And then over the weekend, the spam starts showing up.  Spam, spam and spam on day one.  And now another order of spam on day two.  All of them trying cleverly to get my lounge participants to buy Viagra or Cialis.  By the way, I say "cleverly," but I leave it to my readership to decide:

This wonderful film of comic book author (and classic curmudgeon) Harvey Pekar persistently reminds you a film is being made - quirky scenes in an artificially created studio alert us to the illusionary nature of all biographical storytelling. The film imaginatively presents a man whose image has been recreated by a host of different artists, his life transformed into art that is itself multiplied by the particular view point of the artist creating the image of Harvey. One of my favorite moments in the movie is when Joyce (his future wife) worries about meeting Harvey the first time because she is not sure which of the representational drawings of Harvey is true. Additionally, the film allows the fictional characters played by actors to interact with their originals in odd parallel moments and these composite views make them seem simultaneously ordinary and larger than life. Added to all of this is the interweaving of the comics themselves, animated moments of the drawn versions of Harvey and his friends' art talking back to the man who inspired it. (Midori Snyder) free cialis Knife itself, just reed 49far away as she first thought, she looked down. She. cialistadalafiluvgenerictadalafil.com kidney transplant - where a healthy kidney is surgically implanted into the body of someone with little or no kidney activity In the three-drug cocktail, Texas officials administered 5 grams of the drug - about 3.4 ounces - to render the inmate unconscious, followed by the muscle relaxant pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride to stop the heart. Pancuronium bromide is the drug that expired.
natural cures for impotence cialis 20mg "yatha payasi sarpistu goodashchekshow raso yatha shareereshu tatha viagra pill or trading a prescription drug sample, or offering 

Honestly, who writes this stuff?  And just how does the insertion (uh-oh, wrong phrase) of the viagra or cialis reference even occur? 

So, here I am I am asking them to upload syllabis and they are getting cialis. I am trying to encourage my faculty to express their frustrations with their moodle, and instead I am getting insinuations about frustrations with their noodle.  I am asking them to maintain their attendance for the whole semester, and instead they are getting suggestions about maintaining something else for too long.   

If your disappointment in me for writing that last paragraph lasts more than four hours, I recommend that you contact your doctor.



October 1, 2012: Inside the HEAD -- Week Five (day twenty)

Almost all colleges and universities have some kind of electronic master calendar through their intranet that captures all of the events that go on at the college.  Well, all the events except classes that is.  Students and the public will usually only see events of special interest to them, but employees are subjected to everything, from the most mundane academic meeting to high school visits to announcements of the last day for students to receive refunds.

October shows 132 "events" for SMC employees, ranging from expected Halloween costume contests to high school visits to body pump to weight watchers to academic leadership council meetings (be wary of those; I hear the guy who runs those is a real wacko!).  Outside of a few administrative announcements/events related to students in classes (such as the last day to confirm class rosters or final exams for seven week courses), there's nothing on the calendar related to the everyday work of the college. 

If I want to find out when and where the women's powderpuff bowl is (as far as I can tell, this is flag football for women, replete I'm sure with the dunderhead former replacement refs from the Green Bay/Seattle football game), I can find out, literally, in three seconds that it is October 17 at 2:00 in our sports center field. 

If I want to find out when and where Professor Hard-To-Locate's Educational Leadership class runs, I will require about five minutes as I find the "interactive schedule of classes," click on it, wait for it to load, and then drudgingly search through the class listing until I find Hard-to-Locate.  It would be quicker if I simply walk to his office and pray that his course schedule is mounted on his office door.

This isn't really just a basic complaint.  The life of a college campus is often found in the film series, the theatrical productions, the high school visits, the zumba lessons, the pool tournaments, even the meetings.  I get that.  In addition, and, in essence, the class schedule is incredibly complicated and hard to simply put out as a calendar of events.

So, I wait for that emergency call (not that I would get it) from a parent, saying "it's 2:00.  Do you know where my son is?"  I can only hope he's in the powderpuff bowl.  I can find him lickety split.