Some Thoughts From An Internet-Addicted Teacher and A Recommendation to My University
Hurricane Ivan, even though it largely spared New Orleans, has hindered my effectiveness as a teacher. This is because my classes are dependant on the internet, especially blackboard as well as a site that I have set up on a server run by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching. School was cancelled all last week, and the internet was down campus wide at Xavier from Tuesday morning until Friday. This meant I could not send or receive e-mail, which mattered a great deal to me because this is the main way that I communicate with friends and family who were worried, and also how I regularly communicate with editors, publishers, and other professional contacts. This meant I could not check to see on Xavier’s home page whether or not classes would resume Thursday or Friday. This meant I could not receive emails from students asking for clarification or help. This meant that I couldn’t post messages on blackboard about the revised schedule. I think it was Friday evening that the servers came back to life, and I was able to communicate via email to many students (about 40). Several of them commented that they wanted to use the time that school was cancelled to get caught up on their blogs, but the server was down and this prohibited them. Several students evacuated Tuesday and wanted to know if we had classes Friday. Several wanted help with a paper that is due soon, and clarification about the schedule. Blackboard is still down and it is really hurting my classes. Students typically in their emails said they went to blackboard to see announcements, or guidelines for the paper assignment, and couldn’t because the server was down, then they emailed me. I don’t know why the servers went down, perhaps the university felt that the area might flood and they shut off the computers. I very much hope that ITC (information technology center) at Xavier takes a moment and plans for future events such as this. If they could have had one person assigned to come to the university and reset the servers so that they functioned properly, this time that we had off from the hurricane could have been very productive for me and my students. Instead, we lost a lot of momentum and will have to spend much of my class time Monday and Tuesday talking about schedules and administrative issues. Technology could have helped me be a good teacher even with the school being closed this past week, but, it didn’t work, and I wished it would have. So do my students.