Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Losing Your Right Hand

What does it feel like to lose your right hand? I mean, my right hand at work. My assistant has been on medical leave since May 18 and that doesn't sound like a big deal. Except that I only have two employees besides me and about 5 student assistants.

I have been relearning how to do things I gratefully forgot, like how to add new patrons, how to fix circulation issues, remembering to put equipment in places and deliver films, checking on a multitude of little details that always needs to be checked before a new quarter starts, employee timesheets, reconciling a money drawer, etc. The list goes on.

That's in addition to my own usual duties and projects, like budgets, periodical renewals, collection development, new course management materials, etc. It takes one little situation to make you appreciate when you have a well-oiled machine running. When a part is gone, the whole thing just seems to fall apart. For us, running smoothly and collaboratively has been the key to our success with such a small staff.

Actually, I am proud of myself - no major crises, no major snafus. I have learned that I hate to reconcile a money drawer and deadlines always exist.

But I got to go back to my roots, so to speak, and do some cataloging functions, which I always enjoyed and clean out some clutter.

Luckily, it sounds as though there is daylight showing. My assistant might get to return part-time soon. And that will be a day for celebration. Hallelujah!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The dog ate my homework

One of the more interesting posts in my bloglines account this morning was from Wired Campus: 'The Computer Ate My Homework': How to Detect Fake Techno-Excuses. It's a report on a new web site, Corrupted-Files.com, that will (for a price) create a corrupted file for students to submit to instructors. Instead of missing a deadline or imagining an excuse, this web site enables purchasers to turn in that assignment in a completely unreadable format.

Q: Is this cheating?

A: It's a fine line… It's basically just a good excuse vs. outright cheating but even though you are handing in your own work, you are getting an unfair advantage so by that definition, yes you are cheating. Please ask your professors for an extension before you use a corrupted file. This is meant to be used as a last resort, a one time thing, not a crutch! Everyone is entitled to a second chance, but not a third. -
Corrupted Files.com, FAQ's Page

Putting aside for a minute the interesting ethics of the FAQ's page and tentative contact information site disclaimer, the Wired Campus post and it's subsequent comments make good points regarding plagiarism and cheating. I particularly enjoyed the comment from a user who puts this statement in his/her syllabus: "Any corrupted files are YOUR responsibility. Check your outbox after you send the file, open the attachment. Any files I cannot open will receive a zero." Plain, simple, to the point.

The site offers a wide variety of customized corrupted files (the list is rather extensive) with a 12 hours turn-around and 100% satisfaction guaranteed; if you have that much time, just finish the assignment.