Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Strange Course

The guy from down the hall who makes decisions on how we spend much of the income from our $10 million endowment asked me if I wanted to teach a new course.

A local businessman who keeps an eye on the regional economy said that we are shifting from agriculture to health care. He wanted to know the impact of this shift.

The guy from down the hall wanted to create a course that would do a research project exploring how this shift would affect the region. The course would have 5-8 students and would produce a substantial study of the topic, which we would publish in a scholarly journal. This is not my usual macroeconomics course.

I thought for a moment and decided that I might enjoy it. I told him I would take the chance and began thinking about how I would prepare to teach the course next spring. He left.

He returned with my associate dean, who asked which of my normal classes I would like to give up in order to teach the new class. I said, "I usually teach three of the same course."

He said, "But which one?"

I paused. "Do you mean this semester?"

"Yes, starting tomorrow."


Well . . . uh . . .

So I am teaching this odd course with zero preparation.

Except now we only have one student who wants to take it. So I do not know what they will do. They already have a part-time faculty member teaching one of my sections.

I cautiously await.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Class Tool

I am using Facebook to pass information to students in my courses this semester. Since I do not want to see what they are posting to their friends, I am hiding their posts. One can easily learn things one would rather not learn.