Odds and Ends for the Week

Well the week is finally over, so let me wrap up some loose ends. I met with the final section of my Digital History class today. It went pretty much like the first 2 sections – they are taking the course because they are curious about digital history, even though one said she was taking it because she needed a 1 hour class and another said it fit her schedule – ouch!

I have been disappointed in the amount of trouble the students are having in trying to create SL accounts. I would like to incorporate SL into my teaching but if students are having this much trouble in creating accounts, that will be a pretty big hurdle. I am having my college tech staff install SL on the department’s computers in our history lab, that should help out. A fair number of the computer labs on campus have the computers locked down tight enough that you cannot install any software on them. The other labs have computers that are so old that they cannot run SL. It was surprising to realize that the majority of my students are relying on campus computer labs for computer access. For some reason, obviously unrealistic on my part, I expected more of my students to own their own personal computer. This is going to be a big problem since IUP is phasing computer labs out because the administration believes that the majority of students have their own computers. As I reflected on the classes I have taught at IUP over the last 6 years, and with a 4/4 teaching load that is quite a few, I realized that the largest percentage of any class that I have taught with students bringing laptops to class was never higher than 10%. I really wish IUP would follow the lead of other institutions that find ways to give incoming students laptops.


Finally, we held our PKAP meeting in SL today. I have to admit that this was not a very creative use of SL, we merely sat around a table in the PKAP headquarters and used the chat feature – but since Bill is in Greece this works well. We met twice, once for 1 hour and once for 2 1/2 hours. The chat feature did allow us to save a record of our conversation. I spent some time tonite editing it down to a manageable length – it started out as 78 pages of double spaced text. The meeting went well, we decided lots of things, made a plan, and I am now ready to start focusing on the summer.


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