Thursday, February 1, 2018

"Why can I still not see this stupid portfolio? Was this not tested before they rolled it out?!" - 1st week of class adventures...

*waves weakly*

Hello all, I'm coming to you from a prone position on the ground, but otherwise, I'd say I'm holding up pretty well. :0 It's been an interesting start to my spring semester, but before we go there, we have to cover blog housekeeping, and thus talk about THE LENTEN BOOK CLUB!

Ok, so the tiebreaker poll was a bit of an epic fail. :0 We're all apparently book lovers who simply CANNOT be forced to choose between books because the tiebreaker poll ended in a tie.


I get it, I really do! So here's what I propose that we do: Let's read The Thief for Lent, the theme is just SO perfect, and for the Summer Book Club we will read Kevin Lowry's conversion story, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church. We will not have another book poll for a while, because well, we're all polled out. ;-) But we *clearly* all want to read these two books, and so we will read both! Let's work on acquiring The Thief for Lent, and after Easter we'll look at starting a Summer Book Club focused on apologetics in June-ish. Sound like a plan?

*virtual fist bump*

All right, sooooooo, my week. I'm exhausted, so there's that. Emotionally and physically. :0 It's not that it's gone poorly, but just like in every other semester, technical debacles abound the instant the first day of class rolls in. Combine that with multiple classes (I have 8 this semester, and this is the *lowest* number I've had since this enterprise started a year and a half ago), nearly 200 students to manage, and catching some sort of nefarious winter bug, and, you know, it takes a toll. I've been dragging the past few days, although my spirits haven't been down, so that's good.

I arrived on campus Monday morning in my little Honda Fit feeling mighty trepidatious. I know how first days tend to go: I walked up to my office, and soon learned that internet connectivity was spotty across campus due to a server issue of some kind. 🠔 Yeah, pretty much like that. :-\ My office PC was unaffected, but you want to know what was affected all day long? Our classroom's teaching station. And I was up for the 10 am class slot all by my lonesome.

Yyyyyyyaaaaaayyyyyyy 🎉

One of my colleagues finagled an iPad mini with an HDMI cable that was able to connect to the WIFI. So I was ultimately still able to use the teaching station and the projector, albeit a bit more awkwardly. The larger problem wasn't fully solved until Tuesday morning, but all's well that ends well, right?

Well. 😱

Tuesday morning found a new problem.

"Tiffany, are you over there? We have a problem. A BIG PROBLEM."

That's just what you want to hear shouted from your boss's office first thing in the morning, is it not?!

In the first few weeks of our library lab, we guide the students in creating an ePortfolio for their English course; we set them up with step-by-step video instructions on how to do this. Sounds foolproof, yes? It IS, unless a previously undiscovered little glitch occurs in the new ePortfolio software, and students cannot open or edit their portfolios after they've created them. This wouldn't be quite so apocalyptic save for the sheer volume of students that we teach in our lab - and this would be a couple thousand. Whenever we need to apply a fix with so many students affected, things get messy. Some had already created these ill fated ePortfolios, and so now we need to have them create new ones, but do other things to fix the problem and try to banish the old ones. Some had not yet created an ePortfolio, and so now we need them to do yet different things to create a Portfolio. Some will have no idea what is going on (can't really blame them in this instance), some will have 2 ePortfolios and forever be confused by which is which, some will not follow the correct instructions and will produce a malfunctioning ePortfolio, and some will do nothing at all until the end of the semester, when they will inevitably come complain to me about their low grade.


I've decided to deal with all of this...NEXT WEEK. 😳

I'm hanging in there; I mean, what else can we do?

I've also started to get the expected student emails, confused about where to click and look for assignments. No matter how clearly we try and spell things out in the directions, this always happens. I get it, to a certain extent. There's nothing like being addressed in an email as "respected madam," to make a girl feel old, though. :0

All right, that is my week in a nutshell! Over in CatholicLibrarianChildren Land, it is Catholic Schools Week, and my two munchkins have been enjoying all of the special activities and treats. I'm busily planning for Lent, and have I mentioned that despite my 100% failure rate with journaling, I want to try a journal again for Lent? Because THAT'S guaranteed to go well, right? What could go wrong?!

*high five!*

Let's discuss next week! In the meantime, what's up with YOU?! Would you rather our Lenten Book Club be Tea Time podcast discussions or written posts? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Glad to hear you are surviving. What is it with the first week of classes and technology problems? (said with a sigh of solidarity) Microsoft Edge (the browser that replaces Microsoft Explorer on new systems) doesn't work with our registration system and since the college doesn't support Edge a resolution doesn't seem likely. I've been telling students I'm sorry it doesn't work use Firefox or Chrome. Although I think I'm going to switch to just saying Firefox. Chrome doesn't open PDFs in the browser. It downloads them and then you have to click on them to open them. Although recently I've found that I've had to click on them twice to get them to open. Once from the bottom of the screen when it downloads and looks like it is going to open and once from the downloads menu. Edge also has PDF problems and tries to download them as .txt files. Of course our Course Management System is full of PDFs student want to see/print.

    That sounds like a good plan for the book club. I've requested the book from the library. Whatever book club format is easier for you works for me. I'm leaning toward written posts because I often listen in the car and don't always remember what I wanted to say later when I'm at the computer. If I'm reading, I'm usually ready to reply.

    1. Melanie, INTERESTING. Good point. This could sway me to written posts. I wonder if I'd also have time for short Tea Times, non-book related, during Lent. Hum... Lots to discern!

  2. Happy Candlemas! The book club decision sounds good to me. Who would have ever thought it would end in a tie?! I've been thinking about Lent too and might get Magnificat's Lent 2018 app and try to follow along. Have a great weekend :)

    1. Happy Candlemas, Kevin! oooo, the Magnificat app! It's only for ios though, right? I *think* that's why I've never gotten that in the past. Let me look in the Google Play store...hark, WAIT! I SEE IT! Off to explore. :0

  3. Awesome! I've never used the Magnificat Lent app before, but I'm going to give it a try. Hope the ePortfolios are cooperating today!


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