Sunday, January 10, 2016

Online Training / Online Work

In the last couple of weeks I’ve spent almost four full work days doing nothing more than online training for various things. First, I went through an extensive online study program where I was required to make better than 85% on numerous quizzes in order to get my certificate, which I’m required to have in order to chair a big research committee at my work. It is, by the way, a committee that I have absolutely zero desire to chair. 

Next, all Xavier faculty are now required to go through an online training course on harassment and how to recognize and report it. Numerous quizzes are found along the way. This one included watching a lot of videos and “what would you do” scenarios.

Third, our Department is going to start using the Strong Interest Inventory to help with advising students on career goals. That meant more study. I ended up taking the test myself as part of this process, and found that my major interests seem to be artistic ones. If only that darn writing thing would earn me more than pennies on the hour. 

Fourth, the faculty were required to watch a rather lengthy video on what to do in an active shooter situation. The key guidelines appear to be, run if you can, hide if you can’t run, and fight if you have to. I’m thinking that’s probably good advice.

The above four things do not include the dozens of surveys I’ve been sent by either Xavier or other universities wanting my input on all manner of things. These things don’t just come once, mind you. If you don’t fill them out you get reminder, after reminder, after reminder.


Although all of these things are worthwhile at some level, I’m beginning to wonder when I’m supposed to get my regular work done. You know, that old fashioned thing they call “teaching.” And I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t be compensated for all the added activities that seem to have become part of my job of late. One of the surveys asked me about my work hours versus leisure hours. I'd have more leisure if it wasn't for all the extra work stuff I'm supposed to do.

20 comments:

oscar case said...

Sounds like the Gov't, but in the Gov't nobody knows anything after the training.

eric1313 said...

That's hilarious! The active shooter video sounds exactly like instructions from a mall cop training manual.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a lot all at one time.
We've had to do the harassment training, and all because some higher up in the company couldn't control himself.

sage said...

I hear you about such "required" online courses taking up time! The active shooter situation is sadly needed.

Cloudia said...

You poor man! That really is cruel but unfortunately no longer unusual

the walking man said...

I understand the training part, even if it is time consuming but the surveys do they come to you because of your renown in your field or just random generated? Random generated reminders can be just as easily shredded as the rest.

Speaking of education--Detroit Public Schools--now not only have $500 million of state incurred debt, brought about by Emergency Managers but are up to 50-60 kids in all k-12 classes. Today they announced a minimum of 20 school closures because of teachers calling in sick. Thoughts?

G. B. Miller said...

I feel your pain my friend. Almost every other day an e-mail comes out from our training academy about some kind of semi-mandatory course designed to help you better navigate the myriad of issues that comes with helping children and their families.

R.T. (Tim) Davis said...

As G. B. Miller said, "I feel your pain." Once upon a time, not so long ago, when I taught as a semester-to-semester contract adjunct at a large state university, I asked the department head why I was required to participate on campus without compensation in a between-the-semester (Christmas break) research/analysis project (i.e., student achievement in certain courses within the department); I was given the "team player" speech and told not to return in future semesters. In other words, my teaching contributions (so poorly compensated at $2000 per course per semester) were flushed/discounted because I would not bring myself to work another 40-60 hours during the Christmas break on an accreditation damage-control project. Well, to make a long story short, I understand that you are clearly caught up in and cannot escape from higher education's mind-numbing vortex of administrative bullshit. It is sad but true that higher education has lost its way. Hang in there!

Erik Donald France said...

HR rules the world!

I'll leave it at that . . . having had to do much the same . . .

I think this is why "Jeb!" is doing so poorly. He reminds one of a pedantic, chiding HR nightmare.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar Case, now it's spreading to the academic world it seems

eric1313, I don't know how much money was spent on the vid but it wasn't the greatest.

Alex, I think a lot of universities are going through this kind of thing now.

Sage, yes, it's unfortunate but true.

Cloudia, that is true.

Mark, with new and continually added restrictions, shortages of supplies and no shortages of students, and pay not keeping up, they are killing education all over the country.

G. B., there's a lot of it out there.

R. T., a big problem is the unprecedented growth in the last ten years of the administrative side of Academia, and all those new hires have got to be given something to do, which means more work for the "soldiers in the trenches," namely the teaching faculty.

Erik, lol. Could be about Jeb.

David Cranmer said...

Before I left my day job (to go full tilt at BTAP) it seemed like every year it was more and more training. Us employees called it CYA for the company.

Charles Gramlich said...

David Cranmer, I guess I got spoiled in my early years because we didn't have a lot of it. Now it seems like everyday there is more.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, online training (from home, I assume) sounds better than actually attending a course but I can see why it might seem like a needless digression when one can use the time for other important things.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We have lost our way. Few students will profit from online courses. At least students at less than elite institutions.

Riot Kitty said...

"What would you do" scenarios? Are their insurance companies making them do this?

I'm guessing no yahoo would see a video of someone grabbing a student's ass and say, "Yes, that's what I'd do!"

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Those surveys and harassment class seem like a good basis to use your 'Days of Beer' comedic flair, my friend. :)

RK Sterling said...

Oh, dear. I'm even feeling a little guilty here since I'm one of those people who create all that online training for others. :) Am sorry you are having to deal with all that extra work. :(

Snowbrush said...

Sounds like you’ve been through some boring stuff of late. I guess that in Texas, the active shooter scenario would say, “Everyone whip out your guns and blast away.”

jodi said...

Charles-what a time suck for you! My niece is a teacher and is expected to do so many things without pay. I don't get it, I've never worked for free in my life and I don't even have a degree!

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, there is that. I did some of it from home and some from my office at work.

Patti, the evidence is mounting that they just don't do as much as person to person teaching.

Riot Kitty, they were a bit more subtle than ass grabbing. :)

Bernard, there's a possibility!

RK, I suppose it has a purpose but its just that I've already got much to do.

Snowbrush, maybe so. The training vid would be shorter.

Jodi, its increasingly becoming part of the job for academe