Friday random bullets

  • I’ve struggled a bit this term with finding time every day for research. I find it relatively easy to do early in the week, but the end of the week (W-F) tends to run away from me. This morning I squeezed in about an hour of good, quality research. Since then, I’ve been about twice as productive as I usually am when I skip research. Note to self: make time for research every day!
  • I’ve been using a standing desk for a few weeks now. I have a temporary one rigged up using this Ikea hack. I need to saw a bit off of the bottom of the shelf brackets to get the keyboard tray to a better height, but so far, I’m loving it! It does, however, influence my choice of shoes—I am less likely to pick the shoes that are mostly-but-not-completely comfortable and more likely to pick, say, flats everyday. I sense a visit to a tailor in my near future to get some pants re-hemmed….
  • The new prep is going well so far. I’m glad I had the trial run of the material during our summer program. I was most worried about (a) the writing component of the course and (b) running a mostly-discussion class. (I’m used to incorporating all sorts of active learning activities in my courses, but pure discussion plays a small role in those.) I still need to grade their first essays, but I’m trying to be very transparent with my expectations (publishing my rubric with the assignment, specifically spelling out criteria, etc). We’ll see if that helped on the first paper. As for discussion, I’ve done a couple of pure-discussion classes, but for now am mainly sticking to small group discussions/activities, and that’s working well so far. As a bonus, the participation rate in the whole-class discussions seems to be increasing, maybe because students are gaining confidence in the small group discussions?
  • On a related note, we had our “clients” (the Librarians) visit our class on Wednesday, or rather we visited them, to discuss our term-long project: reenvisioning the Library’s home page. I am always appreciative when staff take time out of their very busy schedules to visit my classes, and the discussion was fabulous. The students came prepared and eager, with great insights, and of course our librarians rock, so it was a great, great class session.
  • Today is the last day of drop-add. I’ve signed a bunch of drop-add forms today for my advisees. I’m guessing there are other deadlines today or soon too, because I’ve also signed a bunch of forms as chair (adding the major, graduating early, etc). I think I am the most popular person in the department today. 🙂
  • I’ve had a number of exhausting discussions lately around diversity and privilege. Necessary, for sure, but exhausting. Exhausting because of the slow pace of change and the level of awareness. It’s caused me to reflect a lot more on my responsibilities in my role as chair, as a woman in computer science, and as a professor in leading these discussions. This may be a longer post at a later point, when I have better-formed ideas.
  • The exhausting part may also be due to the return of my insomnia, the bane of my existence last winter. It’s not nearly as bad as it was then, but dude, I’m tired and just want to sleep—is that so wrong?

And on that sleepy note, I’m off to class. Have a great weekend everyone!