A Day in the Life of a Cyber-Teacher

Following is a copy of a memo I recently sent to my academic vice-president, following a conversation in which I requested a course load reduction for the Spring semester so I could develop two new courses (Survey of American Lit I and Technical Communications) to be offered via WWW (note: this is not a "to do" list, it's what I actually did on one particular day, or at least what I remember doing--also, the message has been edited slightly to make it more understandable to Kairos readers):

Date: Thu, 7 Dec 1995 23:02:14 -0600

From: ljc8132@acs.tamu.edu

To: jem@tc.nhmccd.cc.tx.us

Subject: A Day in the Life . . .


Today we discussed my request for a one-course reduction in load for next semester. Just to give you an idea of how I fill my days, here was today:

A Typical Day in the Life of Larry Clark

5 am--wake up, check e-mail--36 new messages ( including 12 from students in modem class, one from a student inquiring about class for spring, one from a professor at a university in another state with whom I've been discussing possible collaboration between our technical communications students, one from a book publisher from whom I requested a desk copy of a new handbook on teaching online classes, several from the Alliance for Computers and Writing listserv ranging from direct mail to me regarding earlier postings to questions from other computers & composition instructors to a message from someone putting together an anthology on the use of computers in the humanities, requesting that I write a chapter on the Gatsby Project, one from a professor at another university whose students are making Web pages for literature and with whom I share information about my Web stuff and new literature sites, several messages from a listserv comprised of listserv owners around the country, which I read to keep up with the latest information on listservs and very often send questions out to asking for help, and sometimes even send message offering advice to others!)

6-7:30--grade essays

7:30 am--wake up kids, take shower, eat toast

8am--drop kids off at school, drive to Tomball

9:30--12:20--teach two classes in S212; in between lend a new book on Netscape (which I learned about at A&M conference), talk to college bookstore manager to see if she can order the book in time for Spring so students won't have to go to Bookstop and so Tomball College can get part of the profits, talk to the technology facilitator about multimedia and the upcoming new e-mail system and Tomball College Web server, listen to two faculty members complain about poor technical support for themselves and their students, grab a cup of coffee, lend network administrator internet connection software to evaluate, help three students who are not in my class with technical questions because they couldn't find the lab assistant or the lab assistant didn't know the answer, give my number to a former student who is an art major and who has volunteered to create a logo for the technical communications journal, _Informatica_, which my tech comm students write and publish on the WWW each semester, discuss the progress of the ACW conference with the ACW administrative assistant, talk to a computer sciene professor and two associate deans about new upgrade for ToolBook--oh yea, I think I went to the restroom somewhere along the line . . .

12:20--12:35--stay in lab to answer student questions

12:35--1:00--meet w/Academic Vice-President and Humanities Division Associate Dean to discuss how to offer special independent study courses, policies on distributing information about courses, computer equipment needs, request for a one-course release time for next spring

1:00--3:00--go back to computer lab to help students on final projects and essays

3:00--4:30--return phone calls from prospective and current students, write and printout final exams for two courses, eat bread and drink a cup of coffee

4:30--5:15--help student work on Powerpoint presentation for his final presentation next week

5:15--6:40--drive back to College Station (rush hour, normally only takes about 60-70 min.)

6:45--pick up kids

7:00-8:00--shop for groceries

8:00--9:00--fix dinner for kids and get kids ready for bed

9:00--turn on computer, login to e-mail; 48 new messages (including one from a professor at A&M to discuss presentation of my Web pages at A&M next week, one from a new subscriber to American Literature listserv (see appendage), 14 from modem students, 4 from other professors around the country with whom I am collaborating on writing a book about computers and composition instruction, several from the ACW listserv, including one from a professor at another community college (whom I have never met) asking for advice on demonstrating Daedalus software to his fellow English faculty, several from the listserv owner's list answering a question I had asked about how to post archives of the listserv discussion on the Flannery O'Conner Web page (which I created mainly for the American Lit WWW classes this semester but which is now one of the most widely used references for Flannery O'Conner on the Internet), one containing an issue of one of five or six online journals about computer technology which I subscribe to to keep with the field and to look for articles of interest to my technical communications students and my colleagues at Tomball College)

9:00--10:45--go through messages I didn't have time to go through this morning--answer some, file some, delete some, go through new messages from tonight and do the same, write note to Joe McCann, Academic VP

10:15--kids are finally asleep

10:45--11:30--whip up something and eat it

11:30--1:00 or . . .--I'll probably answer more e-mail (of 84 messages I've received today, only about 30 have been read, six more have come in as I wrote this note), work on Web pages for next semester, work on article about Tomball

1:00--6:00--go to bed, read students essays until I fall asleep (maybe)

6:00am wake, turn on computer, check e-mail (usually 15-40 messages appear overnight--most of my distance learning students do their coursework at night)

8:00--drive kids to school

etc., etc., etc.

Just to give you an idea--some days are worse, some days are better--I have the kids every other weekend--the weekends I don't have them I'm usually at a conference or on the computer for 12- 14 hours/day . . .

Thanks for reading (if you got this far!)

See ya,