Saturday, July 18, 2009

From the Archives: The Problem with Faculty Meetings

Originally posted Feb 17, 2009

From a reader is Australia (who happens to be an art teacher who hasn't used a copy machine once in over twenty years!):
What concerned me as I sorted out bags of papers I had brought home from school at the end of 2008 was the sheer amount of paper that the administration had wasted on us teachers. I think it could all have been said on a blog or wikispace but I was left with 3 full garbage bags.

Consider if you will the average faculty meeting. Did you remember to pick up a blue sheet? And make sure you have a pink one and both of the yellow ones. The white sheets are a copy of the PowerPoint we're going to watch; you can take notes on it to review later.


It doesn't have to be this way.

First of all, the reader is absolutely correct that basically everything that the administration printed out could just have been posted on a blog. Second, if the information is posted on a blog, then it can be responded to and discussion can continue long after the meeting ends. We all know that there are those things we need to talk about but are just too tired and hungry to stay at a faculty meeting until 5PM after teaching all day. The blog solves this problem. The admins can present the info, we as a faculty can have a discussion, and then that discussion can continue to happen online.

It can also be revisited. How often have things come up in meetings that seem so urgent but then just disappear into the educational ether? Well, the blog acts as a dynamic record of the event.

Third: why the heck do people print out copies of their PowerPoint? It's digital. If you want me to have a copy and mark up notes on it, just email it to me in advance. I'll bring it to the meeting on my laptop and mark it up as a word document the same way I mark up student essays.

Every time I see papers handed out at a meeting, I see piles of money that could have been spent on art and music and technology just squandered. At the very least, please see to it that there be a recycling box next to the exit door.

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