When snow days and sick days collide

Between my daughters’ school cancellations, their getting sick, and spending the weekend sick as a dog myself, it’s been a tough last couple weeks. Work has suffered, but not by as much as it could have. Three things have been getting me through the rough patches: technology, fun, and most of all, my students.

Monday I had to cancel my stats class in the med school for the second time in a row. My doctor-students have packed schedules and it was going to be very hard to find another time to hold the class that worked for everyone. After a Tuesday of catching up on email and making up missed meetings, I recorded and posted my lecture on multinomial logit models at midnight with Echo 360. Now they can watch it (and hopefully engage with it) any time that’s convenient before they have to use the method for their next lab. It’s not the best lecture I’ve ever given, but it’s not bad and I’ve posted it on my growing Youtube channel in case it might help someone else in the world.

After my broadcast partner (Edward O’Neill) made the final edits to our new podcast last week, their was still a fair bit of work to be done: The show notes had to be written, the feed had to be created so that folks can subscribe to the show, and the analytics had to be set up. I even had to create a logo for the iTunes Store and find somewhere to put our episode files. Most of this happened while in a fevered daze, but the sheer fun and excitement of starting something completely new and sharing it with the world carried me through. And Phil Sturgeon’s detailed post about hosting podcasts with Octopress (the software behind this site) was invaluable too.

And finally, I had to teach a seminar on public health insurance reform in Latin America on Wednesday. After having trouble with my time management earlier this semester, things have gotten a lot better. Each week a different two or three students present or lead discussion for big chunks of the class. We’ve been creating a detailed time schedule together (10-15m chunks) for the entire two hour class, and have been taking joint responsibility for it. That means they aren’t surprised when I have to stop a presentation a little early or I ask them to skip a slide or two. It also means they have been stepping in when I go off on a tangent to bring us back to the agenda. Frankly, it’s been amazing and the last two classes have hugely benefited. We also work together on the presentations and they’ve done a terrific job with them. I always tell the presenters ahead of time that we are really co-teaching that week’s class, and this semester it’s been truer than it’s ever been.