since sunday, i have been in new york, participating in a faculty resource network workshop at nyu. together with twenty-five other professors from all around the united states and puerto rico, i am part of a workshop called foundations of online course development. the workshop runs each day from nine to five and is facilitated by ian david aronson.
the workshop has been fairly interesting and i've learned some educational theory to bolster what i've been doing naturally in the class for over a decade. i must admit, i have little interest in distance education - time spent face to face with students in the classroom is one of the best parts of my job. but i am always interested in using digital learning environments such as blogs, wikis, and facebook to enhance, not replace, what we do in the class.
the first day we were assigned to groups and i got lucky - our group, group one, rocks. we be (left to right): perpetua ruiz (mathematics and computer science, chicago state university); me; juan martinez-colon (accounting, university of puerto rico, rio piedras); martiza sostre rodriquez (english, university of puerto rico, bayamon); and tae kim (nursing, st. joseph's college).
workshop participants' knowledge, experience, and comfort levels around computers and digital resources varies widely and ian has done a good job keeping us all on track. unfortunately, however, there is a major design flaw in the workshop's curriculum. the workshop is based not on the technology resources of participants' home colleges and universities but rather upon those found at nyu. this is extremely problematic.
for example, early in the workshop, ian was talking and said something like, "at this point, you take your project to your IT staff." a professor from puerto rico turned to me and whispered, "what is an IT staff?" another professor, also from puerto rico, told me that his university has a single lab of twenty computers for all students in four departments. "and," he added, "nearly none of my students have computers at home." it is awfully nice for nyu to host all of us but it sure is wrong to assume we have access to similar kinds of resources and staff.
the workshop ends at five and that's when the fun begins.
five months ago, my sister lisa and her husband jean had twins. through phone calls and photographs, i have tried to keep up with the lil' guys' progress but there's no substitute for seeing them face to face, holding them, and squeezing their cute little feet. they are like two little chunks of sweetness.
last night, after lisa put the twins down, we feasted. jean cooked up a delicious asparagus and shittake mushroom risotto and lisa made a salad that would make the folks at stonelake farm proud. numerous times throughout the evening, i excused myself and tip-toed into the boys' room to watch the twins sleep. with bellies full and proud parents nearby, the twins slept blissfully.