Small changes Create Workflow Hiccups

This was week 3 of the year but the first week of class.

The holiday break was not especially long, but I sure was rusty. My mental state drifted far from its workflow state in those few weeks. On the first day, I couldn’t even find the PowerPoint I had just finished making that morning in OneDrive.

Maybe They Can’t Type

We all know the stories of teachers who thought their students couldn’t read only to discover they couldn’t see for lack of an eye exam (Actually, I’m not certain how or why I think we all know this scenario, or from where, but somehow I just do).

I teach a computer skills class a couple times each year, and typing is one of the course objectives. Each time I see the students’ typing reports, I feel like those reading teachers with the students who couldn’t see. More than a few students can’t type even 20 wpm. How many of my writing students turn in sub-par work on account of the extra time they spend typing, rather than editing, their work? How much more time will library searches require?

You might see that as an argument for hand-written papers, but I teach in a program preparing students for graduate school. How will students already struggling to get through their assigned reading schedules find time to research their topics typing 20 wpm, much less write graduate-level term papers? You can’t submit a hand-written master’s thesis.


At the end of last semester, I noticed the loading time on the Blackboard landing page had suffered on account of the announcements and their attachments. As a result, I started to re-think how I communicate daily lesson plans and itineraries to students.

This semester, I switched from posting lesson plans on Blackboard to creating PowerPoints, and that made for a turbulent first week. Ultimately, however, the change will produce more professional lessons and a superior experience for the students.

This approach also offers more insulation from Internet outages since PowerPoints can be saved locally on the device.

Interactive Competence

Lastly, on account of my upcoming TESOL presentation on interactive competence in English for academic purposes (EAP) classes, I’m starting this year with a more attentive approach to speech acts. I’m excited to see how more explicit instruction and feedback on discrete speech acts as they occur on recorded elicited-speech tasks and role plays will affect student performance.

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