Day 46, 30 April

Planning ahead

And that was the last day of classes for me for this semester. There is still the usual cleaning up: shepherding students through some projects, feedback/grading, managing extension on deadlines and a lot of incompletes (both of which I grant gladly if that is what makes my students sleep at night, and gives me better quality work to look at!)

So that means I can start to plan ahead for the summer. There are a lot of things that need to fit into the 16 teaching-free weeks after grades are in. It always seems like so much time, and it always goes way too fast. Tight planning is necessary. And since it is highly unlikely I will go to Belgium this summer, I have no clear divisions in early/mid/late summer, as opposed to when it becomes a “before and after Belgium” summer planning. So I’ll take some time off after May 11 and loaf around in my PJs for a week (suggested by my chair), and then figure out where all of the following fit in:

  • manuscript: I need to keep chewing bites off this elephant, it’s taking shape but I need some focused and concentrated time.
  • chapter for an edited volume. Shht. It’s a good gig. I don’t know where I am going to find my secondary sources without easy access to Korean, Chinese and Japanese journals (digital or otherwise) for the most recent research on the topic. *insert much headscratching*
  • redeveloping HST137: People and their stuff in Chinese history. I taught this last year for the first time, so a ton of improvements have to be made, and I might as well use this pandemic possibility that we’re remote again for part or all of the Fall to ponder about the feasibility of a modular course. The theme of the course would work with it, I think.
  • Cleaning up the Scalar project we did, so the students can build on it with a second edition/redesigned website
  • possibly redesigning HST380, if it runs. Currently not enough students, I think. It is a fun course but in the past I was incorrectly advised on the title so it sounds more boring than it is. Sigh. (I’m figuring out how to change the title while we are in the middle of registration)
  • creating a brand new Capstone seminar or CUE (Cumulative Undergraduate Experience), on the way China and the West (broadly defined) have interacted since about 1500/1600.
  • two weeks of, our college’s training plan to get us all a bit more comfortable with remote learning, just in case.

That is a lot of moving parts, and I would also like to rearrange my books: I have somehow not done this since I dumped them on the shelves soon three years ago, when I first moved in. I can generally find what I need, but it takes a bit more time than I like. And I have been offered the opportunity to cultivate my own little 3×3 raised veggie bed, and of course the observations at Backyard Wildlife College will resume, now I’m not travelling anywhere. (Last year was very thin in that department.)

Phew- it’s going to be a busy summer!

As for this teaching through Covid-19 blog… Well, I got through the semester, and I hope you enjoyed sharing some of my journey. As I develop my courses to a pandemic-proof version, I will share the process, but not on a daily basis. For the non-teaching quotidian, you can follow me on my personal blog, Polifinario. I’ve already been drafting sections of the BWC Newsletter in the back of my head. Keep on eye out for news about Professor Bunny, Dr. Centipede and all their furry, feathered and scaly friends, as well as adventures in running and fluting.

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