Site Updates - June 12, 2022

The past month has served as a sieve for my interests and priorities. Now that I'm off contact for the academic year, the pressure to perform is gone. The main realization born of this freedom is how much energy I spend on existential crises. I worry so much about leaving a legacy that I forget to get stuff done. I'll spare you the manifest of the contents of my navel and move on to the actionable bits.

The most recent change is deleting my regular site. The purpose was to serve as a virtual filing cabinet of all my materials. Blogger is capable of serving this purpose with less upkeep. Best to move it all to one place. The pages of this site will expand over the summer. Also, the URL now directs to the blog.

I deleted my TikTok account. If social media were food, TikTok is cake. Baking a cake can be an act of high skill and artistry. However, the nutritional value is always low. YouTube is saturated with instructional videos, so TikTok looked like a fertile place to stake a claim. After some reflection, I realized it is very difficult to post meaningful instructional videos on TikTok. The format is designed to keep a person's attention on the site, not to watch a few videos and start their homework.

Admitting that I'm late to the YouTube game and cannot possibly catch up to other creators is actually liberating. I'll never be Sal Khan or James Sousa. (I never wanted to be the former.) I can make the videos I need for teaching and be happy about it. Keeping one eye on the YouTube algorithm leaves only eye to create content.

My potential calculator channel on YouTube is getting repurposed. The plan was to have a separate channel for short calculator tutorials. YouTube Shorts gets higher views than regular videos. Conventional wisdom says that mixing shorts with regular videos will confuse the algorithm. Since I don't care about appeasing the YouTube algorithm with my math channel, I'm going to give up on the idea of a separate calculator channel. Instead, I'll create a coding channel instead. I have a natural niche in how I use computer programming. Building a channel out of that should be both fun and an opportunity for self-expression.

Site Updates - May 11, 2022

 

A view of the Worksheets page on navigatingcollegemath.net
I had a busy day updating my worksheets for Foundations of College Algebra. After scrambling all year to get above water, I finally arranged to get the help I needed. The rest of the department and I are sharing our materials. I have been polishing my worksheets to share. As I finish them, I'll post them on my main site.

Worksheets landing page.

Site Updates - May 5, 2022

 

Now that the semester is winding down, I can turn my focus to lower priority tasks. That includes updating my site. My goal is to put an entire Calculus textbook on TikTok and collecting the videos in the website. To get caught up, I made the following changes:

  • Set the URL to point to the Google site and not this blog.
  • Add subpages to the Video Calculus Textbook for Introduction to Calculus, Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, and Integral by Substitution.
  • Remove the subpages from the site navigation.
  • Embed four TikTok's into the pages above.

I'm still on the fence about using YouTube or TikTok for math videos. My mind says YouTube and my heart says TikTok. More on that later.

Getting Back on Track

 

Photo of "Charting Your Course" by Richard Pregent and Anger from "Inside Out."

Toward the end of each semester I get a feeling that I could be doing better at teaching. That thought hit me today. In addition to the COVID pandemic, our college has been without a president for two years. The lack of leadership meant extra inertia with returning to pre-pandemic teaching practices. The interviews for the new president are concluding while I am writing and an announcement of the pick is due to be announced by the end of the day Thursday. With a sense of closure on the COVID era pending, it is time to get back to work.

The largest struggle during the pandemic was online teaching. All of the training I received about online teaching was related to creating course shells in Blackboard and audio-visual technology. Blackboard is not easy to use but I can manage to get around. My hobby is photography and making videos, so I am already comfortable with those. Where I struggle is managing students in an online class. I am aware that there is more to online teaching than babysitting a Blackboard shell, but I do not know what the extra activities should be.

After visiting the library and gossiping with the librarian, I decided to go back to the very basics. Charting Your Course: How to Prepare to Teach More Effectively by Richard Prégent is as close to Teaching for Dummies that I could find. It seems like a quick read so far. It will be worth going through it even through it will cut into my TikTok time.