Thinking Technology

Monthly Archives : December, 2013

An Update

Teaching

 

I survived the Fall 2013 term. It was a good term. Converting from 2008 to 2012 went fairly painlessly. I did not get my development done as early as  I would have liked, but it did get done. Overall there were a few issues with lab and quiz settings, but nothing major. One lab will need a update, the 2008 approach works in 2012, but is not the preferred or recommended approach with 2012. A few labs need some rework. They will be redone for winter over the break. That means no development for winter term…

 

Wait, there’s always development. The plan of attack for Spring term is to have me teach Server Security (287M). Security is not my strongest topic. However, we don’t have anyone else to teach it & I have taught it before. I will start the development for that class over Winter. If we get an instructor that can teach it, I will pass the class along and I will end up with something else.

 

Something odd happened with enrollment for Winter term. We ended up with a wait list of 22 in my CIS 288M online class. That’s just crazy! No one is sure what sparked that, BUT I can only have 40 total students in the class and that means I will have one hell of an overage. That also means we will be offering it again in Spring. Didn’t see that coming. The plan for next year will be to offer both of the network admin courses (CIS 288M & CIS 289M) Fall, Winter, & Spring until something changes and we can fill those classes. But it certainly makes the Dept chair thing challenging for getting things scheduled. I have to find qualified instructors to fill those gaps.

 

Being Dept Chair

 

Nice segue (I totally had to look up how to spell that word, learn something new every day).

 

Being co dept chair has certainly been interesting. I have been pretty fortunate that the student complaints aspect of the job has been minimal. I have fielded a few issues, but nothing major. The job has been primarily scheduling. As fast you get one schedule rolled out, the next one is in the pipe. And all it takes is one issue and it creates a domino effect.

 

Another aspect of the dept. chair job is finding part-time instructors. That is something new for me, interviewing and hiring. That has gone ok so far. Finding instructors to teach the networking / operating system course has been challenging. If you are reading this and know someone looking for a part-time job, have them go to https://jobs.pcc.edu & get into the CIS part-time instructor’s pool. Takes experience and at least a bachelor’s degree, Master’s preferred.

 

Doctoral Studies

This aspect of my existence has been fairly quite since I finished my course work over a month ago. The next two things on my radar are preparing for my comprehensive exam and trying to finalize / narrow in on my topic.

 

I have been reading a book “Dissertations and Theses from Start to Finish” by Cone & Foster. It has been pretty helpful. One of the things I got from the book were two programs that I wish I would have found earlier in my coursework:

 

Stylewriter found here: http://www.stylewriter-usa.com/

StyleEase for APA Style found here: http://www.stylewriter-usa.com/styleeaseAPA-download.php

 

I will use these programs to help with my comprehensive exam and in the writing of my dissertation. Especially the APA style program. My APA is weak.

Plenty of anxiety floating around. I do not feel as though I used my break leading up to my comprehensive exam effectively or efficiently. I am going to need to gain some ground there. With the teaching break upon me, MAYBE I can get some things accomplished.

I will be using the papers I have written from my previous classes in completing my comprehensive exam. One of my tasks is to get the papers I have written organized. This will include changing the file names to something meaningful and running the papers through the two style programs.

I still have not finalized my plan for my study. My topic holds fast, but no progress beyond that. That has to change as well. I want to hit the ground running so this process does not take forever.

Hobbies

 

Miniature games – I picked up the Malifaux 2.0 rule book and new figure cards, but have yet to play. Not sure when that will happen. The local scene is still fairly active so it shouldn’t be hard to seek out a game when I can squeeze it into my schedule. (squeeze, more like force with a hammer). I have played Freebooter’s fate recently (in the last month or so). That game is always enjoyable. I need to figure out how to play with the updated voodoo rules. On my list of things to do. I am waiting for a game I backed on a kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) to arrive. The game is called Drake and has a dragon theme, the whole reason I backed it, Dragon’s are my thing. The delivery of the game is (like most kickstarters) running late.

 

Roleplaying – This is what I have been doing with more frequency.I am playing Outbreak Undead and game based on a system called Magpie Codex. The Outbreak game is on hold for the holidays but should pick up in late January. I’ve got a regular group and its gone rather well. I still need to work on mastering the system. Magpie Codex is a system I stumble upon among a bunch of PDFs I purchased in a massive bundle. The writer / publisher has since stopped producing the game or any additional materials, but the basics make for a good foundation. The system was originally designed for typical fantasy roleplaying (elves, dwarves, fighting in dungeons, etc.) But the system was pretty easy to adapt to a modern sci-fi fantasy type game. The world is of my own design, a recycled concept I had used years ago.

 

And that’s about it.