Being on (the) edge

Can’t believe how many days have passed since I last posted here.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  We just finished our accreditation process, in which I was heavily involved, and then last week, I played catch up.

I’m at that time of year where I am both looking forward and assessing where I am.  It is now that we start to think about new courses, changes to existing courses, etc.  So I’ve been having conversations with various people and thinking a lot myself about what’s next for Computer Science at my school.  There are too many options, it seems, and also too many constraints.  I’m at the point where my options–all of them–impact staffing, both my own and others.  And that’s where decisions get hard.  Can you add another person? If not, can an existing person extend themselves until the schedule opens up or enrollment increases?  Take the leap or not.  More conversations are ahead.

It’s really a good place to be.  I’m not making an argument just to have Computer Science at all.  I’m trying to come up with a plan to increase what we already have.  I’m both on edge about that and on the edge, bleeding or leading, not sure which.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, too.  I always seem to find myself engaging in new adventures, new technologies, new ways of doing things, mostly because they fit with my own philosophy.  When I latch onto them, I’m usually thinking, “Oh finally, there are others that think this way and are doing this thing I’ve been doing!” But there are lots of people, online and offline, who are skeptical, who don’t understand, who don’t like new things.  How should one approach these people? How do you react to someone who’s never heard of makered, never used Twitter, never read a blog, doesn’t understand the difference between writing code and learning a foreign language?

I do try to take a critical stance toward anything I do.  I try to say, “Is this the right thing? Is it grounded in solid research? Does it help my students learn?”  But sometimes, you have to go with your gut, and try something, and then reflect on what you’ve tried, retool and try again.  Taking the risk is hard.  I try to understand that.  I have trouble doing it myself.  But, if you don’t take the risk, what will be lost?  What could you gain if you do?  Weighing that is hard.  It is like looking over the edge and not being able to make out what’s there.

I guess the difference is, I feel the fear, but don’t fear it.  I am trying to embrace and thereby conquer it. At least I hope that’s what I’m doing.

One Reply to “Being on (the) edge”

  1. My name is Josh Williams and I am a student at Guilford College. I appreciate your feedback on your life and the issues that are bothering you. I want to comment on the question you proposed. How do you approach those who are not as open to technological change? I think those that think this way reject the idea of technological determinism. Meaning they feel that we as humans control and manipulate technology to fit our lifestyles and needs. Technological determinism says that technology is the catalyst of social change.

    I think the way to reach these people is to show them how much technology changes and influences our life. I feel that to understand technology, is to understand social change. Technology has become a culture of this era and those who fight to reject the obvious changes will be lost.

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