My 428 students this year did some decent work. The projects are hardly perfect, in terms of organization, design, and editing, but as you evaluate their work, consider that 13 of the 16 students had virtually no HTML skills to speak when the class started. I’m impressed.
What bothers me most are typos and grammar mistakes. There has to be a fundamental flaw in our department that I can blame for the fact that our students just don’t review their work. What I get in class, and what you can see in these Web sites, is the first draft. Somewhere along the line, we have to hammer it into their heads: read and edit your work before turning it in.
The semester is over, save a bit of grading I need to do this week. I’ve learned that the new full-time faculty member will be taking two of the courses I have been teaching, leaving me with the two computer-assisted reporting classes, one undergrad in the fall and one grad course over the summer. I won’t be teaching Intro to Computer Applications (JOUR 202) or Online Magazine (JOUR 428/528) for which the students built these sites.
I’m part-time faculty which, as I explained two years ago, means I get screwed over in course selection. The part-time faculty has been screwed over by the school in other ways. CUPFA, our union, has been without a collective bargaining agreement for six years. We get about $5,500 per course, which is a good $1,000+ less than other part-time faculty members get at other Montreal universities and that amount less than full-time faculty get if they teach an extra course.
Our union has won an arbitration suit in a labour-relations court – or something like that. I don’t pay attention to the details. I do know the university wants the part-timers to shut up and go away because any new agreement will be retroactive and expensive. If we get $1,000 per course dating back six years, I could be looking at a $15,000 or so payday.
We had two weeks of rotating strikes, none of which hit our department, so I was able to teach the semester to the end. Next fall, it looks like we’ll have a full strike if the issue fails to get resolved.
Sometimes, I really wish I were qualified to get a real job.