For seven weeks I was a college teacher. I was not a professor of any sort. If there was a title, the closest would be technical subject expert. The technical subject, blogging. How did this happen? I have a big mouth and Sandy called me on my big mouth. That’s my story.
The real story is that I signed up for a blogging course. Day one, the professor says to the class, “I haven’t blogged in the last few years.” Maybe this didn’t matter to anyone else in the class, but I had been blogging for a few years and gone through three massive updates; just during my time blogging things had changed enough that I was having a hard time explaining new features. It did not help that the professor and I did not see eye-to-eye on what content was acceptable on a blog; she did not like the rampant profanity. Don’t even get me started on the other content.
That was where this blog came from. To take part in the class, I started this blog without, at that time, any “unacceptable” material. And I hated it. Further, her lessons on blogging ran counter to my experience and the experiences of the blogging community. After one too many butting of heads I marched across the hallway to Sandy’s office and said, “I can do a better job.”
And she said, “Put up or shut up.”
And that was how I found myself as the technical subject expert of blogging for seven weeks (1 credit course). However, before that I had some work to do. Between “put up or shut up” and teaching was the summer. Over the summer, I had to create the course, syllabus, and grading scale. I hated making a grading scale.
Over that summer I created Speaking Out on Blogging. There were lessons, advice, suggestions, and once class was in session weekly reminders of work to be done. I was very proud of the work I did and with the assistance of fellow blogger buddies we created a lot of kick ass content that was assisting bloggers who were not ever going to be in the class. Then…ominous drumroll…Wordpress rolled out three updates that annihilated a substantial portion of the technical advice, such as settings and media. Unfortunately there was not enough time for me to learn how to use the new features well enough to write posts for the class. First lesson of teaching, no lesson plan survives contact with rolling updates.
The syllabus turned out to be easier than expected. As I built the teaching blog, putting the syllabus together was easier than expected. Especially when two pages of “don’t plagiarize” and “dont do…” page was cut and pasted into my syllabus from another syllabus (this is where I learned that many professors cut-n-paste a lot of their syllabi). The toughest part was the grading scale.
In my head, blogging is either a do or don’t do it affair. Either a student does the work, which consisted of creating a blog and maintaining that blog for seven weeks OR the student does not do the work. Thus, in my head, this class was going to be a pass or fail event. No shades of gray, no need for them. You did the work or most of the work and passed or you did not and you failed. Given how difficult maintaining a blog is, I went light on the work hoping to encourage most of them to stay on course…more on that in Part 2.