Monday, February 7, 2011

Ready dot us

More winter weather is headed our way, we're told -- and in a larger package than we've had so far.  The forecast calls for accumulating snow all day on Wednesday, and bitter cold Wednesday night into Thursday.

Best guess, then, is that we'll be home some part of both days, with our various schools canceled.  We've laid in supplies and made mental preparations.  The difficulty, for me, is making contingency plans at work.  Big projects are just starting to be underway in both my classes, and on the schedule for Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, are important class periods devoted to moving those projects forward.  Our first day-long interview process with recruits is next Friday, and this week we're scrambling to evaluate applications and extend invitations.  It's a critical time in my role as an officer of regional and national scholarly organizations as well, with meetings coming up, registration numbers looming large, and budgets to be scrutinized.

The latter two projects are something I can work on from home.  The class projects, though, are a different matter.  At this critical stage, the groups of students have formulated general directions and the germs of concrete activities.  We need to divide up labor and start finding out which aspects of our brainstorming are going to be fruitful and which are going to be duds.  It's hard to do that in any non-authoritarian way without meeting in a group.   Sure, I could make group assignments myself, but in order to see what people are interested in and what, therefore, is likely to attract enough laborers to make it a going concern, there's no substitute for meeting face to face.

Knowing that one or both of those class meetings is likely to fall victim to the snow, I'm trying to imagine ways of doing this work online.  If you have any experience in asynchronous brainstorming and project organization, I'd love to benefit from your advice.

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