Creating an online class all by myself!

For some reason, our little English program isn’t allowed access to Blackboard.  I will be rectifying that situation as soon as possible (and appropriate- I haven’t even technically started the job yet).  But until then, I created a little class page on Google and I’m working on a gradebook via Learn Boost.  There’s next to nothing on the class page yet, but I’m still pretty impressed with myself.

Here’s my question, though: why hasn’t someone created a gradebook that works with Google Sites?  If Google allows you to create a class website, shouldn’t it also allow you access to an online gradebook?  The only Google-related gradebook I’ve seen so far requires you to have a Google Apps account, which requires you to have a domain name, which costs money, which irritates me, etc.,etc.,etc.

So, I’m doing things separately for now, and lamenting that I am not more of a tech nerd because I could be working for Google and creating the free gradebook that everyone would use and love. (And making more money. Not that that matters.)

Motivating the unmotivated…teacher

Today, I attended my first meeting at my new job.  I sat around with the full-time teachers trying to create a substitution policy.  Isn’t it exciting to be an educator?  Everyone seems really nice, and the meeting was somewhat productive, which means we accomplished a lot more than I expected from a meeting of teachers.

But, after the meeting as we were still sitting around talking, I encountered some resistance to professional development, which, of course, is exactly what I’m in charge of.  The grad student in me LOVES professional development.  I want to go to conferences and read research articles and write proposals and talk about linguistic theories and how they play out in the classroom.  The teachers, well, they want to go to the conferences, but I suspect that may be more for the whole “taking a trip, skipping class” thing. (Teachers really are worse than the students sometimes :))

And so I wonder how I will motivate them to actually present at those conferences, or learn some cool, new technology to help their students, or even get plugged in with in-house professional development.  At my old job, there were a few other teachers who got just as excited about these things as I did, and we managed to do some exciting work.  Here’s hoping I’m not the only research nerd at this new place.

Norfolk food…so far

Here’s what I’ve tried and enjoyed in Norfolk so far…

Granby Street Pizza– delicious NY style pizza

The Green Onion– cute and good tomato soup

Luna Maya– omg. this place is awesome. the tres leches cake is definitely what you eat in heaven after you have the pasta from Filomena’s in DC.

The Donut Dinette- I recommend the pancakes and the donuts. They don’t have a website.  Or a restroom.  But it’s still worth it.

I found a few Thai places that look good.  Time for some yellow curry.

How universities are educating international students

Good article from The Chronicle– may be news to some, but feels like old news to me.  At any rate, I’m interested in how other universities are responding to this huge influx of international students.  I can’t wait to compare Old Dominion to K-State.  I was pleased to see the article address the issue of educating the educators. University educators still have no idea what to do with these students, and they often blame intensive English programs.  We should be preparing them to work with international students, not just preparing the students to adjust to a new system.  There are also too many administrators who don’t actually know much about educating students to begin with, but that’s a rant for another day.  The article is only available to subscribers to The Chronicle, but my university subscribes, so I’m good to go.