Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green

My name is C. Jason Smith. The “C.” stands for “Christopher,” but I go by “Jason” or “Dr. Smith” depending on whether or not I check your attendance and regularly give you grades. My parents call me “Jabo.” I have no idea why. Originally from Marshall Texas, I am an Associate Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York in New York City which is specifically in Long Island City, Queens for those of you who care about such things. I am also a free-lance writer.

Trying to get into the spirit of the new
Common Reading for LaGuardia Community College, which is Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, I decided to try and green my classroom by having my students engage in environmental impact awareness projects and to engage myself in making my class preparation and pedagogy as low impact as possible without seriously impeding my ability to teach, or the student’s ability to actively engage with the course and learn.

This is my blog. Classes start today.

In order to significantly reduce the impact of my classes on the environment, I decided that my first task would be to attempt to go “paperless” as much as possible. I currently teach in both computer classrooms and “smart” classrooms and have taught online courses in the past, so this seemed a reasonable goal for the semester as all of my materials are already on the web in an educational program called Blackboard6. My students can, of course, print off what they need, but I’m thinking of all the syllabi I run each semester and all the assignments and all the “extra” copies I make “just in case.” Last semester I filled a whole paper box with “extra copies” and drafts of student papers. To heck with that! Today I am down to ONE copy of everything “just in case”. The rest is online and in my Bb6 site “just in case.” If worse comes to worst, I will get innovative and write on the board.

What could happen?

Well, for starters, my office computer crashed at 8:00 am just as I was reviewing my online courses and PowerPoints. However, most of the material had been uploaded to the Bb6 site already so I was, after a moment of hysteria, ready to go. I had some other technical issues with the course as well. This class is a liberal arts capstone on humanism, technology, and science, so the whole thing was pretty funny . . . or will be someday when I tell it at a bar. We made it through. Day One of class and I used a total of 6 printed pages rather than, literally, hundreds! Yay me.

Did I mention my watch stopped working this morning as well and I backed up my PDA the wrong way and whiped out most of my semester schedule. Is it possible God doesn’t want me to be low impact? Maybe I am destined to bring the End of Days one piece of paper at a time. Hmmm.

7 comments:

  1. I think your watch stopped working because you didn't need to carry extra item as long as you are using computer and online teaching system where there is a time on the bottom of the right corner of your computer.

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  2. hello Dr.Smith
    just thought i'd inform you that i forgot to add something to my address so everyone has a wrong one...oops!here it is twittytinkerbell89.blogspot.com

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  3. Twitty--

    I'll get right on that . . . as soon as I figure out who you are. LOL.

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  4. Hi Mary-- That is not such a bad way of looking at it! But I still miss the time on my wrist all the time (maybe the military messed me up that way!

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  5. However, I don't forget to put on my wrist watch because I don't like to look for my cell phone, that tells me the time, when it is lost in my bag. I think people who are a little lazy and impatient like me,they love their wrist watches.

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  6. I was interested to listen to Kermit's song. It was not singing "it's not easy going green" ! What I could hear was only, " Red mouth ( not red eye) tree frog , Ribit! ribit!"

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