College of Arts and Sciences

The Seven-Month Wall


That wall? Seven months after we "went remote"? Yeah, I feel it.

But I can't quite figure out: did I run into it, or did it fall on me? 

Maybe you recognize the feeling. The marathon we've been sprinting has long since become an inhuman ultra-marathon. There's a limit around here somewhere, right?.

Mental health on campus? It's a real concern.

So warm thanks to the CTE for scheduling a faculty self-care week starting on Monday. Good timing.

I hear from students that they're experiencing the same thing. They feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and not quite sure they can make it to Thanksgiving.

They've never done this before either.

So yesterday I took a hard look at the design of the course I put together this summer. Keeping a close eye on my SLOs, I reviewed the upcoming assignments.

I asked: how might I reduce my students' burden to make sure they really learn what's most essential in this course?

Here's what I did.

I canceled the reading and writing assignment due the right after the October 21 mid-semester break -- to encourage my students to really take that day off. We all need it.

So rather than them responding to a brilliant, essential article by a noted scholar, I'll explain the thesis to them in class that Thursday--while pointing out all the author got wrong. Plus we'll spend some time that day just talking about how they're coping. 

What else? I pared down a couple more assignments too, and made a back-up plan for the days after November 3. Just in case they need something from me that week more pressing than a deeper dive into the Middle Ages. 

I encourage you to consider the same exercise. For everyone's sake.

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