Thursday, October 1, 2015

DOS Based Systems and Other Communications Breakdowns

Yesterday, we had a wonderful breakfast with our old campus pastor and Religion professor who was in town.  He came to our house, and then we headed to the beach.  We drove because it was a hot and humid morning.  We had a tasty breakfast with a lovely view, although it was scorchingly hot with no breeze.

Over breakfast, we had a great conversation about the value of turning off cell phones so that face-to-face connection can be made.  We talked about the value of church camp, as a way to leave our technology behind for a time.  I left for work feeling nourished in all sorts of ways. 

I had the kind of day at work that does not nourish me, the kind that leaves me wrung out and frayed.  There's the fall-out of having lay-offs on Tuesday and classes starting Monday.  One of my Admissions Committee members is out of commission this week, so yesterday I settled myself to read the back log of essays from prospective students, which was a joy, I must confess.  So much hope and enthusiasm.  One perspective student plans to make half a million dollars by age 25--yes, not all the hope is anchored in realism, but the enthusiasm is still infectious.

Much of the rest of my day was spent trying to communicate with computers--much less satisfying.

Basically, there's one person on campus, the dean who is my boss, who knows how to work CARS, the DOS based system which houses student records, class schedules, and just about everything.  Our registrar, who was the other person who could make CARS do whatever needed to be done and quickly, she left on maternity leave before she had a chance to train the temp, who has never worked with CARS.
So, all yesterday, the other person who sort of knows how to work CARS kept trying to do what I needed to be done--2 classes moved to different room, 2 new classes created, 4 classes cancelled.  Now she has accidentally cross-referenced classes so that their meeting time is not right, and we can't figure out how to fix it.
Today I'll go in early, by 7 a.m., when it's quiet and the dean is less busy, at 7 a.m.,  when it's easy to get tech support from Corporate, should we need it.  And then I'll continue the work of getting students moved from the cancelled classes so that student schedules can be printed by noon.
Yes, students can get their schedules online, but we still make them pick up paper schedules, for reasons that elude me.
It's interesting to consider the modern workplace, which still relies on paper and computer systems from the 70's and 80's to function.  Our faculty are expected to use a much more modern online Learning Management System, but I am sure there are ways to utilize the functionality of the LMS that we haven't even considered yet.
Last night I returned home wrung out and frazzled and spilled hot chili on my shirt.  Luckily I could get it off before it soaked through and burned me.  But it was that kind of night.  Thank goodness I didn't have evening meetings.  I could just sit and eat a nourishing meal made by my spouse and go to bed early.
Today, because I need to leave so early, I've had trouble sleeping.  But that's O.K.  I wrote a poem, and I finished my short story about the gardener on Mars, and I'll get some grading for my online classes done.  Today I'll meet my writing colleague friend for a late breakfast and our short stories, and then I'll also have lunch later with colleagues and friends.
If I'm lucky, maybe in the intersplices, I can get enough work done that I can go home early.

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