16 September 2008

Copy of the Sent 1

The continuing saga of what happens when, after being tenured, you forget that adjunct faculty don't have freedom of speech.

I thought I would post some of my original e-mails, so people can see what got me canned. And names have been changed to protect the innocent. This was in reply to another faculty member who sounded a little annoyed (and definitely patronizing) that I would ask for a copy of their shell. I should point out that the course is question, though I never taught it, is one I was responsible for developing and pushing through curriculum committee. So yeah, I was a little indignant myself.

You can tell I go into academic-speak when annoyed.

Moot point. The section was canceled again only about two days after it was opened.

But in fact, I don't think I should be developing my own work. Nor should you. Nor should anyone else. Either people should be working collaborative to develop the course materials, or a faculty of record should take the lead in developing the course materials and other faculty should be expected to toe the line to some degree. I prefer the former, though the latter is bureaucratically easier.

Otherwise accreditation issues involving consistency across sections becomes a nightmare as there is no effective way to ensure consistency of academic quality across sections. Consistency needs to happen in the process of development, not be evaluated after the fact. Such a gap is a grave disservice to the students.

Not to mention, why would any of us volunteer to increase our workload like that, with all of us duplicating each other's work?

In any event, I changed my mind on asking for shell copies from other faculty so that I might instead put my shells out there under clearly indicated Creative Comments Attribution - Share Alike licenses. Which means that a.) anyone else can use my work for their classes without having to ask for my permission (it is implicit in the license), and b.) must do so under the same license.

Because I simply refuse to fear my fellow faculty and treat them as potential thieves before even getting out of the starting gate. The idea of "mine, mine, mine" has no place in a robust educational structure. By hoarding our own works we are compromising a quality education in favor of simple greed and/or paranoia. I just don't buy this individually-tailored balkanization stuff.

And by structuring it this way, the school know has a valid argument on why to never compensate anyone for course development. This is, of course, ignoring the fact that even the meager adjunct rate is roughly 3 times the hourly rate when compared to classroom hours, which is to say or 1/3 for class, 1/3 for grading, 1/3 for development ... check the math yourself if you doubt me ... hourly rate is around $20 for emergency substitution in a class, adjunct compensation rate is around $60 for classroom hour). So yes, you are in fact getting compensated for developing the course as part of the payment for the course. This is also why the credit-free courses often pay different rates based on the expected amount of development required.

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