Summer Is Off

This summer’s work is well underway. In addition to working on the
dissertation (a rough chapter draft scraped together by July 20?) and CCC Online Archive, I am teaching
an online section of HU211 (Intro to Humanities) for old U. and holding down one
of three seats as a mentor for new online instructors. This is the first
summer in several years where I’m teaching just one course. For five or
six years in a row, I’ve taught two. The mentoring gig feels a small
amount lighter to me than teaching a course. Fewer email exchanges, and
the interactions with the instructors are highly professional, responsive, and
collegial. The twist–always a twist?–is that the mentorship pairings shape up
across the disciplines, so even though I am not formally trained in economics or
psychology, the instructors I am working with are teaching courses in those
areas: Principles of Microeconomics and Introduction to Guidance and Counseling.
Of course, my purpose is not so much to pose as a content expert as it is to
listen, share samples of various teaching documents, announcements, reminders,
rubrics for assigning grades to the stuff that turns up in threaded discussions,
and lend a hand with other administrative aspects of teaching online (in
eCollege, following old U.’s procedural standards as relate to the handling of
proctored exams, submissions of attendance, and so on). I also fill out a
periodic, formative evaluation of sorts and check in on the exchanges taking
shape in a discussion forum where instructors new and old from across the
disciplines chime in with whatever is on their minds (not surprisingly, some of
entries include laments that the students can’t write or that
they–h0rr0r!–plagiarize). Woe, the ongoing disenchantment with student prose.

All of this in addition to the travel (Detroit for C&W, Phoenix for camp,
Michigan for my in-laws’ 50th anniversary) and the cross-town move (coming up)
accumulates to suggest that I don’t have to worry about that fatigue (and
blisters) that might otherwise accompany weeks and months of twiddling my