TITLE: Flush with Expectation for the New Year
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: August 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Students are back on campus, and classes are back in session.
Though the department office
moved into its new building
in March, and the rest of the faculty moved in in May, this
was our first chance to use our classrooms and meeting spaces
"in anger". So, in addition to the usual first-day questions
that walk into the department office, we got to track down
ethernet ports and cables, transparency pens, and all the
details of living in our space. The result was a busy day,
and a good one in the end. Some of the usual questions were
unusual, too -- for instance, I was asked to find a student
a substitution course for Keyboarding 101, which s/he had
failed at a previous university. Sadly for the student but
good for us, we do not offer courses in keyboarding!
The emcee at our university convocation used the title phrase
above when speaking with some faculty yesterday. (He is a
theater prof, with a flourish for the dramatic.) It captures
how most faculty, staff, and students feel this time of year.
This is our New Year. It is the time for fresh opportunities,
new year's resolutions, and clean desks. Most folks are
rested and ready to dig back into the teaching business of the
university. Every course is still perfect, the ideal held in
our minds all summer. Students are still eager to find their
classrooms and figure out what their courses and professors
will be like.
In a couple of weeks, the ideal will be shattered: homework
will hang over our heads to be done and graded... we'll have
botched a lecture or three... the desk will be a mess...
and some folks will already be looking ahead to our Baby New
Year in January. But not today.
My class starts tomorrow, and I too am flush with the expectation
of a new year. I teach CS I this fall for the first time in a
decade, and I'm using a
for our department. I'm excited by the prospect of 24 students
in class tomorrow. I may adapt some ideas from my
talk on steganography
last spring as my opening to the course, which could be fun
-- but it's also a bit of a risk, the sort of risk that can
quickly lead to "wait 'til next year...". I've also followed
up on a
to equip my
course web site
with a newsfeed, by using the same
I use to publish this blog. One of our new adjuncts is blogging
his senior-level Networking web site, too, which gives us an
interesting experiment this semester into how many of our
students are using newsreaders at this point in time, if any.
Now, off to get ready to actually teach the