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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On research ideas...

I am curious about the process of deriving research ideas. Oh, I know the "scientific" way. Still, how do all those bits and pieces fit together to finally bloom at the "Aha!" moment? I think I had one of those moments today when I briefly chatted with one of my colleagues while creating booklets (yep, being artistic today) for one of my classes. The idea has been brewing for a long time; actually, I circled around the general area even before I was admitted to the Ph.D. program. Then I had a conversation with my advisor who gently but firmly (yep, both) pointed me in the right direction... Then I had to come up with a topic for one of my classes... And tonight -- this ABD-wanna-be has a pretty good research topic which might evolve beyond the current class. I am excited and hope it works out by presenting me with plenty of leads to maybe even write a dissertation??? It's nothing earth-shattering, has been discussed with my advisor before, but might just work, at least for now.

Days are flying by...

It seems like days are flying by, at a dizzying speed... It's a constant race to meet deadlines, to meet with students, to attend long meetings... Oh, dreaming of a brief lull when I can pick up a novel, make a cup of tea, and just enjoy the peace and quiet without feeling guilty.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Another busy rainy day...

I woke up to a soft sound of rain and birds busy twittering in the trees outside my window. It was too early to get up (6:00 a.m. on Saturday, are you kidding, especially after staying up late?!) so I snoozed for a while -- only to have a totally weird dream. So, like it or not, I was up at 7:00. Yawn...

Oh well, have to write a 10-page paper today -- just a deadline set for myself, so not critical, but I want to get it out and stop worrying. Made some progress already, so far so good. Treating myself to a latte/blogger break! :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Phone Bill

Hmmm... It's nice to know that I am taking an advantage of unlimited nights and weekends minutes as well as in-network plan minutes. Dr. Special has a different service provider but we usually talk late at night anyway. My family is using the same service provider so the minutes are free. And I don't make many other calls on my cell phone. However, if not for unlimited nights, I would have to pay a fortune... ;)

Chugging along...

Aaaah, another week of classes... another week of problems... and, of course, successes! :)
Looks like my online course students are finally settling down, having figured what to click and what not to click, how to submit things, and, ahem, how to find deadlines on the course calendar. Yeah, I thought it was simple -- just refer to the last page of your syllabus; apparently, not...

Several students are now begging to get back, having missed the first week of classes. While some schools have mandatory first-day attendance, we submit rolls after the first week of classes; students who are not attending all of their classes are dropped. Well, I have several students who didn't realize that, wow, classes already started, until just a couple of days ago.
Some students who did login on time but missed assignments are now trying to "outsmart" me. Here is an excerpt from one email:
Student: Ms. Alice, why do I have a zero for Assignment X? I did submit it but you didn't grade it!!! (yep, exclamation marks are there)
Um, assignment was due on Saturday, by midnight. You didn't submit it until Monday night and my syllabus clearly states -- no make-up w/out a documented excuse. Sorry, you missed the train.
I do have several bright and motivated students who are already about two weeks ahead. Keep it up!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ah, scheduling things...

Another very busy semester... Just a regular schedule below keeps me running all week but add meetings... three online courses I am teaching... and current papers/projects... yep, weekends fly by oh so fast. Still, I am hoping to finish two papers this semester. One conference paper would be nice... One only needs editing. The other is a rough draft that needs a lot of work... Maybe I can try keeping Monday or Wednesday afternoon free...


  • Class (teaching)
  • Office hours


  • Class (teaching)
  • Class (teaching)
  • Class (taking)
  • Class (teaching)


  • Class (teaching)
  • Office hours


  • Class (taking)
  • Free time -- stuck on campus, though
  • Class (taking)


  • Class (teaching)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The weekend is over... What?!

Yep, the weekend is pretty much over. As always, time gallops over the weekend, ignoring long to-do lists, plans to sleep late, truly enjoy that cup of tea or coffee... I woke up early this morning, after a night of tossing and turning, weird dreams (can't remember them, though)... It's not even 6:00 p.m. but I am exhausted, fighting an urge to take a nap. Not a good idea, though, because I will wake up early and won't be able to go back to sleep...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Come on, get something done!

I don't know why, maybe because it has been a totally exhausting week, but I don't have enough energy to get anything done today. I did empty my Inbox, though -- teaching four online courses so I guess it was "something." Hmmm... Had about twenty emails...

Still, there is a long to-do list:

  • Finish creating and scheduling assignments for my TA course
  • Upload exams for two of my online courses (WP and KI)
  • Finish scheduling assignments for another online course (OP)
  • Upload support files for BM and OP
  • Complete assignments for my own courses (taking three)
  • Post blog links for my students (using Blogger in that course)
  • Complete my annual faculty evaluation
  • Post weekly announcements for all courses
  • Work at least a little bit on the paper that was actually due last semester
  • Patiently wait for the phone call and then enjoy chatting for a couple of hours! This will get accomplished, for sure. ;)

Friday, January 11, 2008

On fun Fridays and wonderful advisors...

Today was a very productive day, I think. I taught one class, then drove to the university for a meeting with my advisor and other TAs. We were able to resolve some issues and, hopefully, next week won't be as bad as it could have been.

Then I enjoyed a delicious lunch with my advisor and she did an excellent job in corralling my research ideas that are flying all over the place. Yep, somewhat organized chaos -- that's me! ;)

After listening to her suggestions, I was able to narrow down my research interest to two potential areas, both somewhat related. One is actually my original plan, the one outlined in the letter of interest submitted to the grad school admissions committee. Somehow, I moved away from it and got tangled in other cool ideas. The other topic reflects my current interests as well as incorporates my previous experience and future plans. Now I have to decide, should I go back to my original plan or pursue the updated version, somewhat related to the original plan but in a different area?

Beginning this semester, I am to wear fashionable blinders. Cool, huh? ;) Oh, I need them, definitely. They are already helping -- have two sound (in my opinion, at least) research interests. I will play with one of them (whichever works best, depends on arrangements) and will make a decision by the end of this semester. Here, it's in writing now so no swerving all over the place. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Holding tight!!!

This semester, I had to dive right into the pool of problems, setting up courses, meeting with students, working out glitches with online course setup and textbooks, etc. Rather than picking up speed gradually, the rollecoaster for this semester went right into a terrifying spin, when everything started happening at once.

Yeah, I was procrastinating somewhat. I did revise my syllabi and created new course sites. However, I didn't have time to setup a new program and so now have a number of glitches to resolve. Ah, bookstore orders and chaos associated with them... I have been teaching at this particular school since 2002 and had at least one problem every single semester. Come on, people, get your act together, pleeeeeeease! Most of my students are awesome (echoing Profgrrrl's post here). Some are waiting to the last moment, though, especially if they are taking an online course. I have a number of these individuals who ignored my invitation to the online course orientation and now are calling/emailing me constantly, still refusing to meet with me in person, even though they can't even login to their course! One of our secretaries had a "brilliant" (ahem) idea to give out my cell phone to students. Thank you -- NOT! I don't mind accepting an occassional phone call but having my cell phone ring constantly is not something I really want. Would you?

Anyway, I survived this week so far -- major Yeah!!! Today is crazy since I have several hours between two of my classes and, even though I have a long to-do list, it's difficult to concentrate in a noisy computer lab. But tomorrow is Friday and I will have some quiet time after 1:00 p.m. so, hopefully, will be able to catch up over the weekend...

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