Worst. Professor. Ever.

Not really but
Gord Nickerson made a joke in class today about how he'd probably go
home and read all about how he was the Worst Professor Ever on people's
blogs so I thought I'd oblige him (with my post title anyhow.) 

I'm
pretty sure there are other profs beside him in the Department who
would take this title though.  Heck, from what I hear, he's one of the better profs in the department. (Warning: linked page contains very irritating embedded video clip.) 

“Managing Internet information Systems” actually looks like it'll
be a great class – we finally get to learn what blogs, wikis, RSS and
other assorted cutting-edge technologies are all about.  After we
were dismissed today, a classmate summed up my feelings exactly: “This
is the class I thought 505 was going to be.”  505 is our
introductory computer course and it would be a great course – in
1992.  To me, it's patently ridiculous that a Library and Information
Science program doesn't do more to give their students a working
knowledge of current information technologies.  In my view, this
will be the single most important skill that they give to their
graduates and they're failing us by not giving us a basic familiarity
with things other than MS-Office and HTML.  We shouldn't even be
learning today's cutting edge technologies, we need to know what's on
the horizon one year from now when we'll be entering the work
world.  Even the fact that they're holding this course IN A
COMPUTER LAB where the students can follow along and fool around
themselves rather than sitting and watching an instructor “now you
click here” in a regular classroom is a vast improvement. 

And don't get me started on how they don't utilize technology in the
delivery of their classes either.  Every course should have a
class web site with a message board, assignments and lectures posted,
links to PDF's of suggested readings (get Sam Trosow on the legal team
when you're inevitably accused of violating copyright by doing so) and
so on.  As far as I can tell, not one Mac computer is available
for students to work on.  I did eventually find the USB drives on
the computers in the GRC but they're the old style in the back panel
instead of the new kind that are available in the front.  So to
save work you're doing in the GRC, you have to get down on your hands
and knees, crawl under the desk and find the USB port in the back of
the tower.  Here's another one – they have really old style
ergonomic keyboards on maybe 75% of the computers in the upstairs
lab.  Yet when you go in there, students immediately fill up the
25% of the machines with the regular keyboards first.  How much
does a keyboard cost?  $25?  Why not replace the crappy ones
and yes, you may cause more carpal tunnel syndrome but you'd also have
less frustrated students. 

One of our assignments is to create a blog and I was a bit surprised
that I was the only person (out of ~30) who posted a link to my blog
when we were posting our contact info on the class web site (which is
pretty close to what all class web sites should be – readings,
assignments, lecture notes, message boards, links to a class blog and a
class wiki, etc.)  Gord said people who have blogs already will
have to decide if they want to create a new one for the class or keep
going with their existing one as we have to do a lot of our reports on
our progress on our blogs.  I think I'm going to stick with this
one and just create a category that I can tag all my 525-related posts with. 

Okay, now I'm off to try and figure out if I can use Trillian as a
front-end for MSN which is another aspect of this course.  I
haven't used an IM program since the heyday of ICQ so I've got a bit of
a learning curve ahead of me.  I've added my professor as he
requested but it shows he's offline – not sure if this means he's
offline or if he has to approve my request to add him before he shows
up as being online or if I just did something wrong.  So if anybody reading this is on MSN (or ICQ or AIM or Yahoo Messenger), please send me your contact info so I can try to add you.

Met my mentee (yes, it's not a word – I agree.  Hmm, what is the
opposite of mentor?  The online dictionary suggests “disciple” and
“follower” but both of those are a bit…cultish for my taste.  So
“mentee” it shall be for the time being.)  Other than getting her
name wrong at first, it seems like we'll get along fine (I don't think
I ever said it out loud but I wanted to call Sabina “Sabrina” for the
first few times we met as well.  I still keep spelling
Lindsay/Lindsay/Lindsey/Lyndsey Holdsworth's name wrong. And sometimes I forget my own name and call myself “TomKat” instead.  I suck
at names.) 

I'm taking Kathleen for a birthday drink tomorrow afternoon so we can
get to know each other a bit more and I can impart further wisdom
(ha!). 

Comments 6

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Haha! Gord the worst! He was way on the top of my list of fave profs. Now if you wanna talk worst, we gotta take the discussion offline :p
    you do have to remember though, despite the uselessness of 505 for you and me and many others, believe it or not, there ARE students who need it – I just wish it could be more “streamed”. (I have a vague memory blogging about this a few months ago…)

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 2:14 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    “I was a bit surprised that I was the only person (out of ~30) who posted a link to my blog when we were posting our contact info on the class web site…”
    Yes, well, I try to keep my personal bloglife fairly separate from my school life – in other words, I don't really want any of my profs reading about how I'm procrastinating on their assignments. 🙂 I'm going to just make a new one for 525…
    Much agreement on 505, though I only (thank Ghod) had to attend the first lecture…There are people who really need a basic intro computer course, but they *know* who they are; FIMS should give us a choice out of multiple techie courses in first term, and not just for the people who can prove they have 'puter experience.

    Posted 13 May 2006 at 10:04 pm
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Oh, and on the Mac front, I thought it was really cool that Nickerson uses them – finally, a professor whom I can ask if I have trouble figuring out how to do something in OS X! (Um. Not that I probably will. Ask, I mean. Because I never do. But I *could.*)
    Yeah, bit of a shame they have no Macs in the labs; way too many of our fellow students can only summon up an image of the iMac (the *original*, fruit-coloured, G3 iMac) when they think of Apple desktops…boy, that takes me back. 😀

    Posted 13 May 2006 at 10:23 pm
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Hey Jen,
    I thought since, oh week two, that they should have two versions of 505 if they insist that they have to teach less technologically skilled students the basics (rather than expecting students to come to the program with a certain level of computer skills.) One stream could be 505 as it exists now – create a spreadsheet, create a database, make a web page and the second half (507?) could be “Advanced Introduction to Computers” where we learn about more advanced aspects of these programs as well as more about cutting edge technologies and their specific application in libraries (which a person might not have, even if they're a “technie”.) People who take 505 could take 507 as well if they wanted. Hmm, I guess I'm sort of describing 525 mixed with 523 (Web Design) and probably some of their other computer courses. But still, a “highlights of our other technology courses” introductory course would be a very good thing in my opinion.

    Posted 15 May 2006 at 5:22 pm
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    Hey Lauralee,
    I figured at least a few others in the class must have a blog and that is why they didn't post a link. Mine is (mostly) about library school right now which is why I don't mind putting it out there.
    Someone told me they *do* have a Mac lab in the building. It's supposedly somewhere down a hallway by the Tim Horton's? I've never seen it and not even sure if we have access to it. But that's good to know anyhow.

    Posted 15 May 2006 at 5:25 pm
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    That's interesting about the Mac lab. I don't really feel the need to track it down for my own sake (I have no problem with Windows as long as I don't have to put up with it at home 😀 ), but maybe I'll wander around there sometime and see…

    Posted 15 May 2006 at 10:33 pm
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