The answer is....not pretty.
Ok, I'll clue you in on what's up. Last year I taught my first online course for Drury University. It was an "eye opening" experience, to say the least. I taught "Women in European History" which is a 300-level, or Junior-level course. First time teaching the course and first time teaching online. I had some amazing students, and some who were just "there" to get a credit (when I was teaching High School, we called them air suckers). Under the university's requirements, they had to write 20-pages (including a 10-page research paper), along with the weekly discussions, and they had to learn how to use Chicago Style for citing their research. Some of them didn't know how to use the word processing programs. Two students plagiarized their major papers. But, we made it through.
Back in the fall, I was asked if I would teach the class again this coming semester. I said yes, not realizing that the University online school had changed it from a regular 16-week course to a 8-week course. So...this weekend I've been trying to figure out how to fit 16 weeks worth of material into 8 weeks. In the process, I've ditched the research paper (they just don't have time to do this in 8 weeks) and replaced it with several short papers. I've restructured the class, changed the reading requirements, and feel like it's really a completely new class. They're going to be busy with all the reading and writing, and I'm going to be busy grading it all on time. I have to admit, I'm already exhausted by the whole process!
I also have to admit that my Christmas tree is still up! The decorations are off, but there, right in front of where I sit, is my empty, naked tree. In part, this is because it has to be hauled to the storage unit which is about 10 blocks away...and it has been way too cold here to do that. But in part, I am just feeling distracted...by school, by adoption paperwork, by freinds and family, and by everything except putting away Christmas decorations. I'm hoping that now the school stuff is ready to go for Wednesday when class starts that I will feel like doing this tomorrow.