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Online

February 10, 2012

People in my workplace went around happily without any internet. Then it came and changed our lives completely. Our workplace management gently nudged us to use ANGEL, the course management system, which is supposed to do everything quicker, faster and easier. It didn’t. The administrator up there (whom we had no idea exactly who) almost forcefully made us use it by organizing umpteen ANGEL courses per semester. Everything from course schedule to chatting, to class pod-casting to video podcasting, conferencing, even online quizzes, online homework submission, roster, attendance, calendar and yes, even exams can be done this way.  But nothing quite replaces the human when it comes to teaching.  Methods may have changed and attitude may change, but the teacher is still very essential.  One cannot cut the number of teachers in a school quite like most other manufacturing industry.

Most of us were used to submitting grades by handing the registrar our grades on paper.  The staff then punch those numbers and letters into the computers.  We have the option of keying those ourselves initially and that pleased the young and techno-savvy faculty member a whole lot.  I for one like the option of not going to the school or walking from one end of the4 campus to the other end by 5PM to submit the grades. But in less than 3 semesters, that was not an option any more.  That online method became the ONLY way professors can submit grades.

I don’t mind that a whole lot actually, I embrace technology and I do not think I could go back to those days where request for a journal paper takes days if not weeks to arrive.  Now as member of the BIG TEN universities, everything that’s on e-journal (which means about 99.9%) it’s available from any computer, even the ones that sits in my home as old as a Window XP or a Window 2000 Me.

Forcing us to go online did not stop at just course management and grade reporting.  Our travel re-imbursement used to be done on papers was transferred to secretaries helping us key in after we submit the paper form.  Now we’ve no excuse and must learn the know-how of scanning, submitting and keying all the data in the correct format online using ENCUR.  We do not have th option of reeiving payroll slip online anymore.  Our flex benefit, which used to be submitting to “Claims Accounts Unit” whether online or on paper via snail-mail, is now a direct matter between us and the website on “High Mark Blue Shield”.  I knew this the hard way by submitting the re-imbursement of spending on my daughter’s new pair of prescription glasses and was rejected and told to go to http://www.highmarkblueshield.com and do my own paperwork.

On top of all that. I’ve just learned that we will no longer be with ANGEL after 2015.  It does not mean we’ll stop online course management system.  It simply means we’re jumping to another platform.  Electronic Blackboard maybe?  Oh and also students asked the school to to try an improved Grand “eLion”.  One can see a glimpse of that at our gossip newspaper, the Onward State-thon, at

http://onwardstate.com/2012/02/01/elion-gets-a-grand-new-makeover/.

Oh, did I mention that eLion is that “server” that we have to get in to submit overall grades for students? That incidentally is also the online advisor, scheduler and course adder/dropper (for students).  So online is not just our social media, our shopping center and our library.  It’s been forced on me to be every aspect of my work life.  And we got a nice little “token” to secure our login into this super secure server, we don’t want students hacking into this.  But we also have to pay a hefty $35 or $50 if we accidentally lose this “token”.

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