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About Bootsie

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    ds--college sophomore; dd--college graduate
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    college professor

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  1. I think there is a difference in grasping the idea that bad outcomes can happen and putting rules in place to try to control and prevent those things from happening. I don't not fly because I might have a bad outcome and be stuck on the tarmac. I don't make sure that I have a tool box with me and personal mechanical training so that I can fix the plane if there is a problem. Yes, I take a bag of almonds with me when I fly because food service might be disrupted, but I don't travel with the ability to fix a complete meal. I accept that there are some things out of my control. I weigh what is a reasonable plan, based on the probability of something happening, and how much a plan will weigh me down. To me, putting rules in place of who my spouse or I can work with based on physical attributes or gender in order to reduce the chance that there was an extra-marital affair, thus perhaps preventing my spouse from developing a successful business, would be akin to not flying because of the low probability that I will sit on the tarmac without food because of mechanical problems. There is a difference in acknowledging, and accepting, that something COULD happen and it is out of your control and taking draconian measures to prevent it from happening.
  2. I wouldn't be bothered by it. I want my husband to be happy, productive, and fulfilled. I think a husband who is happy and feels supportive is much less likely to be a husband who is looking for an affair than a husband who feels like he has a suspicious wife who doesn't trust him and doesn't feel secure in their relationship. Maybe my perspective is different in that I know a lot of situations where happily married people work with the opposite sex. I have male colleagues who I have known since grad school (actually one since elementary school); I wouldn't think twice about going to lunch with them to discuss a research product or going to dinner together if we were attending the same conference. DH has had female colleagues he has been working on a project with. I have a male colleague I wrote a book with and we spent many hours working together--and our two families are very close. I know male physicians who work right along side female physicians. Our neighbor runs an extremely successful consulting business with his female partner.
  3. Many schools receive a great deal of revenue from renting dorm and facility space to summer camps and conferences; that has been lost this year. Value of endowments have been questionable as the stock market has been volatile and oil prices have dropped. Revenue from sporting event ticket sales vanishes, but so does the selling of parking spaces for tailgate parties and the donations that alums make in association with their sporting event attendance. Alumni open houses, building dedications, and all of the other events that bring donors to campus are times where it is on their mind to donate to the school and all of those are missing. Few of the expenses of the university have been lower because of this (marginally less electricity use, etc.) but it has cost millions in purchasing computer equipment, webcams, microphones, cleaning supplies, etc. Then you have the problem that some people have seen a significant increase in the workload of their job and the stress level of their job while others basically do not have a job to do now--you can't coordinate summer camps if there aren't any; you can't lead a study abroad program when there isn't one. So, there is an ethical dilemma of the workload within the university and leaving everyone on the payroll.
  4. Going online definitely has significant revenue implications. There are also other significant complications. There are accreditation issues for online courses. There are regulatory/legal issues if you offer a course in one state but a student is in another state. There are licensing issues for some career tracks. And this doesn't even begin to deal with pedagogical issues with some courses--such as how do you teach a dance class, a music class, an art class that requires specialized equipment, a chemistry class that requires access to a lab, an investments class that requires data that is on specialized terminals on campus, etc.
  5. SACS is the regional accreditation body for Texas universities. Universities have to adhere to certain policies to offer online courses. Some of these policies were suspended in mid-March for a three-month period. This was released yesterday morning by SACS; many schools have had the suspension extended through the end of December, making it easier for them to offer online courses.
  6. As new information about COVID-19 emerges, universities are having to adjust. Also, each decision has a lot of different areas it impacts. What makes sense for a small senior-level literature class, doesn't necessarily make sense for a freshman biology class, a dance class, a music class, a nursing class, or an MBA class. My university had decided to be in-person, but any student could opt to attend virtually; we are starting a week early, having no break, meeting on two Saturdays, and finishing by Thanksgiving. Then, as they started really looking at classroom space and how long it will take people to get in and out of the classrooms when socially distanced, they realized that we didn't have enough time between classes. So, do you change all of the timing of the classes? That brings up serious coordination problems for both faculty and students. For example, the faculty member with elementary kids who was teaching at 2:00 in the afternoon is now scheduled to teach at 6:00 in the evening. We went from, on Wednesday, if you have more than 40 students in a class, you can request for your course to be taught online and we will see if it will be approved to if you have a class of 30 or more your class needs to be online by Friday morning. Faculty have been given until Monday to designate whether their class will be taught online or in-person. But there are a few caveats--we aren't sure what room we would have (could be anywhere on campus with a number of different setups), students can opt to be online--so we have to accommodate them at the same time we are teaching in class, if we have 30 or more students we must divide them up so that they aren't all coming to class on the same day (but of course the number enrolled in our class could change dramatically by Aug 17), and any courses that are required to be in-person for accreditation and licensing requirements that would delay graduation of students must be in-person. We are now striving for a residential online model in which students have access to campus resources and the community while taking many of their classes virtually.
  7. We had a heated faculty senate meeting this week. The nursing faculty say shields do not provide as much protection. Some of the preliminary work that has been done by the tech people indicated that the sound is more muffled by the shields than by masks.
  8. We are not able to separate our live students and remote students into different sections and if we have in-person students, the university is pushing for any student who wants to be remote to be allowed to do so in a synchronous manner (which the faculty are agreeing that in many situations will be impossible). Have you attempted lecturing wearing a mask? If so, did you tape it? How was the sound?
  9. I am not having trouble finding those items in Texas right now--maybe a specific brand, scent, or size will be out. I don't know what part of Texas you are heading to, but I know professors at a number of schools here. If you want to PM me, I might be able to give you some idea of what things are like where you are headed.
  10. If you were in the classroom teaching, but still had to manage all of the Zoom issues for a group of students who are online, do you think that would be better than doing it all online? If you need to make sure that they are participating in the discussions, ask questions and see everything you are writing on the board? What percentage of the students would need to be in the classroom that would make the room better than being on ZOOM? I have taught in a 300 person lecture hall before with acoustics designed to pick up student questions throughout the room--some rooms did better than other. I worry about the same size room when it is not specifically designed for that (like a banquet hall or football stadium) and student voices are muffled by masks. At least there will not be side conversations going on.
  11. If a university prides itself in faculty-student and student-student engagement, which of the following scenarios do you think will promote that the most?: A) Students and faculty meet within four walls or under a tent. Students are spaced at least 6 feet from each other--walking into class single file, sit masked, and leave the class single file. The faculty member is the last into the room and remains within an 8 foot protected space at the front of the room. The faculty member teaches while masked. There are some students who are attending via computer screen. Assume that it is a math-based class, where in addition to lecturing a professor needs to work out problems. In order to hold 30 students the space will need to be about 1400 square feet. The professor will be wearing a mask; a microphone will be needed so that students who are spread across the room can hear and so that students who are attending remotely can hear. I will be impractical for each student to have a mic; students will need to speak loudly and clearly enough for their voices to be heard across a large room, while they are masked to ask questions or to participate in a discussion. Any group or team work in the classroom will need to be done as students remain six feet apart. To minimize contact, the faculty member is the last to leave the classroom. B) Classes are held synchronously via ZOOM. No one is in the same location. Students can be broken into team rooms for discussions. Faculty have some document camera or tablet on which they can work problems. Small group meetings are allowed on campus if individuals are masked and remain socially distanced.
  12. As a parent of a college student, I understand your frustration. As a college professor, I know your frustration. We were told we had to prepare for four scenarios and be able to move seamlessly between the four. That was a disaster, so it was changed to two--sort of. So, as things stand now, we will teach somewhere--perhaps in the football stadium, perhaps in a ballroom, perhaps in a classroom, perhaps in an outdoor tent with students present and students are are attending via technology either because they are international students, choose not to return to campus, are sick, or are quarantined. So, the plan is for students to enter the classroom single file and masked and gather cleaning supplies to clean their workspace which is at least 6 feet from another student. After that the faculty member is supposed to walk into a protected area of the classroom and teach while everyone remains masked. Oh, but with 10 minutes between classes, there isn't time for one class of students to leave single file and another students to enter in the proscribed manner--especially if faculty and students must get from the football stadium to the classroom on the other side of campus (when they originally had classes scheduled next door to each other). So, will every class be pushed back during the day? What will that mean for evening classes? So a faculty member with small children who usually teaches in the afternoon now being teaching in the early evening? And we will have all of this figured out in 7 weeks?
  13. What you describe, I would not necessarily call a "fixer-upper." I would use that term if (1) I was buying a house that needed major changes to make it livable for my family or (2) I was purchasing a house with the intent to update it and sell it quickly. I would consider things like replacing carpet as general maintenance. I would consider things like updating functioning bathrooms as cosmetic. I would look much more at layout, size, location, and yard when buying a house rather than does it look cosmetically like it is on HGTV. Remember that the "updating" you do today to get the latest lighting fixtures or current tile trends will be out-of-date within a a few years. Even if you bought a house that was totally updated it is not going to be the current trend in a few years, either.
  14. I am curious of why you put me in that group. I have questioned and pointed out problems with studies regarding the effectiveness of masks. I haven't mentioned anything about my comfort level regarding getting sick. Saying that I don't want to be overly optimistic about how much mask-wearing will reduce community transmission doesn't have anything to do with my comfort level regarding getting sick or how many precautions I am taking. In fact, I find that I am taking more precautions than some I know who think masks are highly effective.
  15. My personal behavior is that I wear a mask when I am in indoor, public places (such as grocery stores) and I have been in those places very little. I do this in case it makes any difference. My personal opinion, at this point given the scientific evidence I have seen, is that the benefit of the general public wearing masks when in public has a very minor impact on spread, I don't know what it would mean to "agree with mask wearing"--if that means I wear one, which I already do, or if it means that I agree with someone's opinion that it makes a significant and substantial reduction in transmission. It bothers me to see sloppy, incorrect research being thrown about as evidence. It bothers me to see sloppy reporting in the media that takes research results out of context and misinterprets the data. I do not have any political beliefs regarding mask wearing. My concern, looking at the existing research and hearing some of those around me talk about masks, is that some of them are overly optimistic about masks. I see people thinking that if everyone wears a mask everything will be OK. Personally, I do not understand feeling comfortable going to get a manicure or pedicure because everyone is wearing masks. Of course, if there were unequivocal evidence that masks substantially reduce transmission, I would think that masks substantially reduce transmission. At this point, I do not think we are anywhere near having that evidence.
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