Retrenchment, Day 20

Yesterday's first day of classes went pretty well for me. There were some snags, of course. The technology in the room I was teaching in didn't work, so I was not able to project from my notebook computer to the big screen. While a technician from IT Services worked for the entire period trying unsuccessfully to get it to work (using my computer), I talked off the top of my head. I think it went pretty well. Hopefully the controller in the cabinet, which he said he was going to need to reprogram or replace, is fixed by the next class on Wednesday morning, because I need to project a set of PowerPoint slides for my first lecture.

I had an hour-long discussion on Zoom with my friend who runs the faculty Learning Circles I've been attending for the last couple of years, writing open textbooks (OER) and redesigning courses. We talked about how we might move forward together on this zero-textbook-cost Z-Degree program, not only for BSU but for the entire system. The situation at Bemidji is complicated and they may not be ready to undertake developing pathways through majors that are free of textbook expense. But that doesn't mean the system shouldn't move forward. And there's really nothing preventing me from offering my services to other institutions that want to pursue this goal.

And I've been invited by the university at Mankato to do that: to participate in a couple of workshops at the end of September focused on developing, assessing, and communicating about textbook affordability. That will be a great opportunity to share what I've been working on and thinking about, and discover how others are approaching the issues. I also finalized my registration and travel plans in mid-October, to the next OE Global conference. I went to the 2019 meeting in Milan, just before COVID began. This one is in Edmonton, so I'm actually going to drive to it.

So that's the news from yesterday and this morning. I think this Retrenchment Diary is helping me stay focussed on doing something every day to address my predicament. Today I have another fist meeting of a fall class, and I'm looking forward to greeting the students. It's an elective, so I have had several of them before. But I'll also be working on the bigger picture, and I'll report on that tomorrow.

Link to YouTube: