Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Two Rants and a Delight

The Abbey includes students and faculty from a consortium of a number of schools, so at the beginning of the semester, I asked students to write their names and emails on a piece of paper so that I'd be able to email the class if I needed to.

I needed to tonight. So I dug out the paper. About 25% of the emails had ambiguous symbols. In the context of an email address, especially one based on apparently random collections of letters (not forming a name or word, so far as I can tell) and numbers, it's pretty hard to tell an ell from a one, or a seven from a one, or a four and a nine.

Our students are supposedly digital natives, but they haven't figured out that they actually have to make sure someone can read their email address.

Grrrr! (On the other hand, the other students were helpful, and now everyone has gotten the message.)


And as long as I'm on an email rant, can I suggest to schools that they make email addresses that have something to do with the person's name? Please. You could do first three digits of each name. You can do first name dot last name. There are all sorts of choices. But a few letters followed by a mysterious number (and I've seen double and triple digit numbers so far) is a pain, especially when the student's writing doesn't distinguish between an ell and a one.


I finished teaching Book I of the Faerie Queene today, and it's been absolutely delightful. I'm not sure if it's the context (a class that's read a number of romances and gets the genre vs one that's mostly read lyric poetry), or if I scheduled it for more time, and that helped, or if the students were just more into stuff, or if I've actually learned how to teach better. But it's been fun. And the students seemed to be getting it, from the quality of questions they had (very good ones) as we started discussion. Now I want to teach it some more, and soon!

I loved the Faerie Queene when I first read it, and again when I read it a second time, but teaching it to students when it was a total struggle wasn't fun. (One student hated it, and made sure to say so. This student also grimaced at the idea of reading a WHOLE play! This student also came to office hours to complain that the reading was harder than Poe. Frankly, I don't think this student has actually really worked through Poe really well.)

I had a good trip to Ireland, and will blog a bit about it, hopefully tomorrow. But I'm still tired. It's hard to travel all weekend and then teach well on Monday, while prepping for another trip for next weekend. It's a tough life, isn't it? I bet you are all feeling totally sorry for me and sympathetic and all. (/rubs thumb and forefinger together in the "thousands of tiny violins, playing just for you" sign)

But I am tuckered, and heading to bed early tonight.


Bonus: I've joined a running group here. I'm the slowest, by FAR, but it's not at all competitive (at least not for me). We run up and down the drive, mostly, in various ways. Today, most folks ran the drive three times, down and up, with some intervals stuff. (Now you get to imagine the drive here at the Abbey. Then add some. It's almost silly.)

I ran down, and then did some intervals up. And then because everyone else was going back down, I chose a patch of lawn and ran diagonally down (a slight grade) as fast as I could (ie not fast at all). The slight gradient helped me move my legs faster. Then I walked back up. It was maybe 40 meters. And I did it again. Okay, I did it 8 times, interspersed with some stretching.

And now my legs think they've been badly abused, and are letting me now about it. OOPS!

1 comment:

  1. Our campus chose the first initial last name method. It's one thing if your name is Herman murgatroyd, but with common names - if your first name begins with a C, say, and your last name is Garcia, Jones, or Wang, say you are #34 or some such. Why didn't they do fisrtname.lastname? Grrrr.