Monday, March 3, 2008

Farewell February!

Whoa- what happened to February?

I had the greatest time friday. I went to a Recource Day in Springfield, where a bunch of environmental educators got together to share ideas and who is doing what. I got loads of info about IDNR programs, col stuff happening all over the state and after a forgettable lunch (ok but not fantastic) I got a behind the scenes tour of the Illinois Natural History Museum and Research Center. OMG! When you walk into the first room- like a warehouse with rows and rows of shelves, the first thing you see is a pair of stuffed African Lions, with an elk next to them, and two standing grizzlies. Peek around the elk and there are two Dalls sheep, assorted wild boars, and a wall full of African antelope heads. Look up on the shelves- fox, squirrels raccoons, bobcats, and about 20 rabbits look down. We were all quiet, just in awe of all these mounted animals, and someone says "and they all come to life every night."

This place holds everything that is not on display at the museum, which is all the research specimens and all the non-native animals donated from Grandpa's trophy room. Birds, even an eagle, and skeletons of everyhting imaginable. When we walkied into the bone lab, they had the pig skeletion wrapped with Christmas lights. We asked how often they found them that way. They have 95% of all the native plants in Illinois in their herbarium. And the rocks! Oh the rocks! Beautiful specimens, huge fluorite crystals (the Illinois state mineral) and fossils on top of fossils! It's funny, but Illinois has no dinosaur fossils, but we have mammoths and tons of sea fossils and plant fossils. I could have just roamed for days, opening drawers, poking in boxes. Amazing, simply amazing. I'd love to have some of that for our school.

so here's my daily rant- I'm taking an online class, and the instructor has been MIA for a couple weeks. Then he shows up, claims the flu (like he only has to get to a computer for 5 minutes to post a "keep on going, I'm sick" message) and puts up a lecture and then announces a test. Well most of the material on the test we covered 7 weeks ago, with no discussion or input from him, period. He said te test was going up friday. Friday, no test- not unusual, because he always says something is up when it's not. So I went into work Satuday to catch up on my work for friday, and thought, Oh I'll down load the test and work on it at home. He had said something about it being an essay test he would post and we'd have a week to work on it. So what did I see Saturday? The test is online and I hvae until Sunday at 2:00pm to take it! He never says which Sunday, but typically these are online for a week. Since he doesn't say, I have to assume that he only is giving us a day and a half, over a weekend, to take this exam. And it's timed- 69 questions (4 essay) in an hour and a half. That's not bad except it takes about 30 seconds to submit each answer, not uncluding the time to read the question, decide on an answer, maybe check the book or notes to be sure (all online tests are open book) so it could (and did) take about 65 minutes for the multiple guess/ TF part. Once you pick an answer, you have to click save, wait for the saved box to pop up, close that box, click on the submit button then "yes" on the "are you sure" box, brcause once something is submitted you can't go back and change it. Then there were the essay. He said he wanted a "good sentence" for each one. Well, I'm sorry, but a sentence is seldom enough. I know this stuff very well since it's the same thing I'm teaching a the college level. ( I teach undergrad 100 level non-major introductory science lab and this is a 400 grad level majors class and I think my class is harder.) I only had 4 minutes left when I finished. And this online test had no "restarts" which means once you start you have to finish. If you get booted mid-test, too bad. You are done.

I almost emailed the instructor twice, telling him that he was an idiot, but much nicer, of course. I almost posted a note to him as well, but didn't do either. This isn't my class, and he's going to have to learn how online classes work. I'm just planning to ream him on the eval. I've onnly really done that once before, adn it was the same thing- any instructor who goes MIA for more than a week, and doesn't answer questions (even "Since we are behind, when are our assignments due and what should we be reading?") gets the wrath of RockWoman! I just keep thinking- I could sooooo do this better. Example- we have powerpoint lectures to listen to every week (well we get them about every other week whhich is why at week 8 we are only starting chapter 5) and during the lectures, he voices over the slides. He has a boring voice, tells the same joke every lecture, and worst of all YAWNS during his own lectures! Over and over he's yawning at us. So how easy do you think it is to stay awake? C'mon... at least re-record the clips you are yawning through!

Well, that's my rant. Seems like that's all I do. At least here. But friday were were talking, hugging, eating and I just love getting together with my EEAI pals.

And two weeks from today, I'll be in New Mexico! VACATION!

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