Friday, September 28, 2007

    Where am I?

    I have been on a bit of a search for myself lately. That is, I don't know, at times, where I am.

    Currently, I am physically located in an airport bar waiting another two hours for a flight to MN and then to an airport an hour from my home. I should get in at 10:00 tomorrow morning, flying from the West Coast back to middle America. In the past two weeks I have gone coast to coast, From Atlanta to San Diego to this stop on the way home. San Francisco. A pretty city they say. I wouldn't know. I am stuck at the airport for the past four hours, with another two to go. Then I get to fly through the night.

    I am a bit bitchy about this because, as I said, I don't know where I am.

    I am no longer teaching online courses. I haven't since March this year. And, truth be told, I don't really miss it. I miss the teaching, but I don't miss the hassle of logging in and providing a "presence" in the class. It becomes, when viewed this way, a big hoop to jump through each day. A real drag, which doesn't help the teaching excitement one bit.

    But, teaching doesn't pay the bills. Not even close. Not even close to the student loans and credit dept incurred on the foolish notion that staying in school would pay off in the end.

    Why cross-country commuting? The "career" that I have imposed upon me has been to create/deliver ERP training. I like to think of it as instructional design, but it too often ends up basic computer skills training. "Yes, you click the 'save' icon to move to the next screen."

    So, as a training consultant/instructional designer, I make a decent billing rate (around three figures/hour), but, I have to be on the road to make the rate.

    I am here, wondering how I got here. I have to make the choice, and I know I am not alone in this, between nurturing and enjoying relationships with my family and bankruptcy. That is, if I don't leave for work (no work at home), then therein lies quick and sure financial ruin. If I go, then my Pookie sees me only on the weekend. Then she says things like "I wish my Dad didn't have to miss everything" or "why can't Dad take me to school?"

    Where am I?

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

    "Contingent Faculty" by any other name...

    I was replying to Amy Wink's paean to being poor and righteous, when a comment below reminded me of the term "contingent faculty." I think this term ranks right below Adjunct in its usefulness and utter lack of description.

    I am all for missionaries. Teaching is mostly a mission field. I knew this going in. I just didn't know the extent of the costs, nor did I realize the entrenched class system of tenured and not: might as well be Brahmans and untouchables.

    "Oh, you are a contingent faculty. You can get me nowhere. I don't need to talk to you. Good luck with this."

    Follow the link above. Post a comment. Spread the love.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

    WIKIs in the classroom

    I am ambivalent about the use of WIKIs in general. Don't get me wrong, I think that they are useful (see my query about a Grace Slick song here), but to be used in the classroom seems to be an exercise in busywork.

    WIKIs work by employing those with knowledge and time. It also appeals to a certain strata (who I am glad are around, but I am just not one).

    Now, if I force my Freshmen to go to a WIKI to compile a set of collective knowledge about something, I will get some interesting results, but I wonder about the utility. Will a classroom be a large enough pool to gather "expertise"?--without which the whole endeavor, from the student's point of view and my own, seems to be only mildy interesting.

    Would I create a grammar WIKI? God no! Horrible, horrible idea. A style WIKI? One shade up from the pit of Hell...

    I see no real use.

    BUT, if you do know of a use, please let the fellow below know. He works for WetPaint, a free WIKI hosting service, and he is interested.
    My name is Michael Bolognino and I'm writing to you from Wetpaint Central in Seattle.

    I'm working on building out a dedicated area at to help guide educators through the benefits of creating wikis in the classroom, and I'd love to get your input.

    If you are an educator, please take 3 minutes to answer a few questions about using wikis in Education. If you are not an educator, please disregard this email.

    Cheers, Michael

    Michael Bolognino
    Community Manager

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