People ask how is retirement, but I am not sure, yet. Not much has changed. I am not teaching this year, and I miss having classes and seeing students. So what have I been doing?
I am converting our PBL Clearinghouse (problem-based learning) from a pass-worded, secure site to an open access, Creative Commons site. We want to make it easy for anyone to access the large set of classroom-tested problems. We want a site that is easy to manage and that makes it much easier to post new problems. We have over 23,000 registered users, and we would like to engage more of these users in sharing their teaching materials. The site is here.
With colleagues at UD, I’ve been planning a winter workshop focused on problem-based learning. In the past, we have attracted faculty from around the country and from quite a few international locations, in addition to our core group of UD faculty. In case you are interested, you can find details here.
I have been working with my editor, Barbara Flanagan, at Bedford on revising materials in Writer’s Help 2.0, including fine-tuning the way things work. We’ve sold about 23,000 (there’s that number again) copies this year, with major continuing adoptions at Illinois, Washington, Georgia, Florida, and elsewhere–those are the flagship schools. Just as important are the community college adoptions and our success at various state schools. I’ve been working on interactive modules on such topics as concise style, documenting sources, and invention. You can find links to Writer’s Help on my links on this site.
I’ve been keeping up my posts to Bedford Bits, and starting to participate more actively in the new English Community at at Bedford/Macmillan. Bedford is working hard to maintain connections with the broad community of English teachers, including, of course, composition teachers.
I’ve been working on a project with Lilly pharmaceuticals, to improve the quality and efficiency of their clinical trial reports. These documents tend to bulk up as the company authors figure it’s better to include information than leave it out. One report we looked at was 88,000 pages, so you can get an idea of the challenge.
I finished a couple of external reviews of faculty dossiers for promotions at Kansas State and UT-Arlington. I’ve got a Rhetoric Review revise and resubmit waiting for my attention, and another book manuscript in revise and submit for Perspectives on Writing Series, from the WAC Clearinghouse, under the editorship of Susan McLeod. It’s amazing how much Web traffic the Clearinghouse generates and how many downloads of our books are generated. I’ve also been checking and correcting all broken links across the Clearinghouse, a task I’ve neglected for some time.
I had a great site visit to Miami University of Ohio a couple weeks ago, as a member of their national advisory board to the Howe Writing Program. Kate Ronald will be retiring and they are currently searching for a new director–a great position. I also had excellent visits to the University of Illinois and Carthage College, to promote best instructional practices with Writer’s Help.
And, oh yeah, I’ve been doing more fishing in the mountain streams of New Mexico and working on my golf game. That sounds like retirement to me.