Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ridiculous Skool Vocabulary

Is this going to be on the test?
Assessment (a.k.a. Test, Quiz, Assignment):  You know what happens when you give an Assessment??....You make an "Ass" of "me"  (Assessment).  Tests by any other name are just as scary although I haven't heard of "assessment anxiety" yet.  Hmmm, maybe change is good?  Give it a longer, vaguer name and it takes them longer to figure out a disorder associated with it.

Student Learning Outcomes
(a.k.a. Objectives):  I object.  Way more words.  Obviously meant to provide wiggle room because they are no longer "objective."  I think this goes along with grade inflation and bolstering self "of steam" as ways to improve a student's experience without really accomplishing anything.  Bigger title for bigger ego.  I get a kick out of the fact that the acronym for this is "SLO".

Total Quality Management (a.k.a. Quality Control):  This just keeps rearing its ugly head and morphing into new paradiggums.  Notice how they took the "Control" out of Quality Control so we would feel less manipulated?  I've seen it called Quality Matters.  To whom, I ask?  Those of us who have been putting a quality "product" out for years now still don't get recognition or respect.  We just have to go through "Syllabus Sensitivity Training" to make sure our Syllabi aren't too wordy or strict or mean or damaging to their self-esteem.  I now dub thee.....Quack Matters.  Make sure your classes meet Quack standards.   There is a spin off T.V. show called "Breaking Quack".  More to follow....

Motivational Speaker:  Someone who is paid gazillions of dollars by higher ups who think we want to sit in the auditorium and listen to someone tell bad jokes rather than work on our Syllabi.  My personal favorite was the "Jollytologist" who also provided us with foam red noses so we could all be clowns for a day.  All I can say is fuck you.  (And how do I get into this gig after I retire?).

Anonymous Academic Adjunct


11 comments:

  1. I went through all that over 20 years ago. The institution where I taught decided that it no longer had students but "customers". I had to endure all that nonsense, largely because my last department head was responsible for inflicting it on the place.

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    1. We've been informed at my institution that this is the year of "customer service"...

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  2. The worst motivational speaker I've experienced was the "management" "expert" who made us all put on colored paper hats while he spent three hours delivering what sounded like a dumbed-down version of the first chapter of the business 101 textbook. I didn't think it could get worse than that.

    Then I Googled "Jollytologist." It's a real thing, Is it too early to unlock the bourbon drawer?

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  3. High Impact Learning Strategies: this is a pet peeve of mine on our campus. For our assessment purposes, we have to rank order how "high impact" an activity or assignment is. It's ridiculous. I have started using rifle rounds as examples of how "high impact" each activity is. The dean is not amused by me.

    Worst motivational speaker we invited made us write our goals on poster board paper and tack them up all around the auditorium for us to be able to stroll past every year and remember our goals. Two people tacked their goals up on the board (they were from the Education Dept). The rest of the faculty sat at tables and chatted.

    Oh, I grew up with someone who is now a motivational speaker. Biggest pothead ever, and he now goes around encouraging people to RELAX and LET THE WORLD FLOW AROUND YOU AND THE UNIVERSE WILL GUIDE YOU kind of philosophy. He gets paid $8,000 an hour to say that. I get paid $3 an hour to tell people how to fix their writing and thinking.

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    1. That person you grew up with sounds like the "facilitator" of the "alternate learning styles" course I suffered through. He was similarly dazed and confused and, as I recall, had no teaching background whatsoever. A lot of touchy-feely stuff with liberal does of new-age music. It was largely a waste of 2 days which I could have spent in doing something useful.

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    2. Like getting dazed and confused..but because you chose to.

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    3. My favorite High Impact Learning Strategy is a two-by-four to the head.

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    4. Nicole and Maggie shared this post discussing the downsides of goal-setting in one of their recent link posts. It (and the book to which it connects) sound like possible garlic for overly-goal-setting-oriented administrative vampires.

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  4. We once had someone come speak to us, and he asked us to fill in the blanks: "I will say no to _____ so I can say yes to _____." For example, "I will say no to teaching an overload so I can say yes to publishing a book."

    When he asked for a volunteer to read theirs aloud, I got up and said, "I will say no to my family so I can say yes to myself." The presenter stood there for a second, horrified, until the other faculty members gave me a round of applause.

    (Note: I'm not saying no to my children. I just don't want to deal with my extended family's random issues. No!)

    That was fun and all, but the time would have been much more productive if I could have said no to going to see that idiot speak and yes to spending some time discussing our students' needs with my departmental colleagues.

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    1. This is the key problem with much "professional development" these days: it seems to be a substitute for old-fashioned committee work, wherein faculty did, yes, discuss students' needs and approaches thereto. Of course the majority of the teaching faculty (especially those teaching intro courses) no longer do service (and/or are pressed into service with no reward other than not being not-rehired -- which, okay, has some similarity to the experience of traditional tenure-track faculty). Instead, we have "outside experts" hired by administrators -- who justify their own jobs in part by inviting/arranging/hosting said speakers. There's something wrong with this picture.

      All the more so because I, too, sometimes find myself wondering "how does one sign up for this gig?" (to be fair, our outside speakers are usually quite good, and attendance is not required, but 90% of what they say still sounds common-sense enough that I strongly suspect I could pull it off, and I could certainly use a way to supplement my income/support myself in early involuntary retirement should the need arise).

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    2. When I started my teaching job, the institution had just hired a "wellness co-ordinator", someone who quickly impressed me as being a flake.

      Nobody really knew what she did. I remember receiving what she called a newsletter, which consisted of articles lifted out of fitness and lifestyle magazines. She also went around to all the vending machines and putting stickers on what was "good" and what was "bad".

      I never took her seriously and completely forgot about her until much later. Apparently, after 6 months, she went on "stress" leave and stayed there for over 2 years. Finally, someone at the institution figured out that she was bilking the place and she was sacked shortly afterward. For all we knew, she was working at another job while collecting a leave cheque.

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