Wrapping Things Up

Hello, all!

I hope that the end of the semester is wrapping up in a positive way for you all.

As you know, today at midnight is the official deadline for everything due in our class. This includes the weekly summaries, final notebooks, research essay, and final exam. You can scroll through below for details on each of these or click on “Assignments” in the menu to the left.

Some folks have asked for extensions for a few days, which I have happily granted. If you need some extra time and haven’t touched base with me yet, please send me an email with some details on what you need to get done and when you can complete it. My email address is jellis at citytech.cuny.edu.

The latest that I can agree to is Tuesday, May 26 as grades are due and I need time to complete grading before the deadline. But, as I said, email me if you need that extra time so that I know to expect your work, otherwise I will submit grades when I have received everything that I am expecting to see submitted late.

Above all else, email me at jellis at citytech.cuny.edu if you have any questions. I’m near the computer, so I’ll get back to you relatively quickly.

Good luck with everything, and remember to stop by and see me when we’re back on campus. I’d like to find out how everyone is doing and we can talk Science Fiction.

Best, Professor Ellis

Announcement: Going Forward with Distance Learning

Some of these plans might change as I learn more from CUNY and City Tech about particular procedures concerning our shift to distance learning for our formerly in-person class.

Here’s what I’ve decided as a way forward for our Science Fiction class:

  • Don’t forget to complete your weekly summary of the assigned readings/viewing and lecture. These are due before the next week’s class and they should be at least 250-words in length.
  • I will post each week’s lecture as an embedded video on our OpenLab site on Wednesdays at 6:00pm or earlier. Watch these to make your lecture notes.
  • Each week, I will have online office hours on Wednesday from 5:00-6:00pm. This means that I will be available during that time to reply to emails and I will host a Google Hangout, which I will post a link to on our OpenLab site before the office hour begins.
  • I’ve folded video viewings into weeks with readings as we won’t be needing class time to do the viewings. Depending on your schedule, you can keep up with the schedule of readings and viewings as needed. The thing to aim for is not falling too far behind so that you experience each text on the syllabus and you have a chance to write a summary comment for each week’s lecture and readings.
  • With the viewings moved, I was able to open a week for something new. April 29 has no readings assigned. Instead, I will want to hear from everyone BEFORE that date via email about your selected topic, so that I can reply with suggestions. Those of you who have spoken with me already do not need to do this. On April 29, I will post a video lecture with ideas about doing research for your project. Of course, you can begin your research project before that date and you can email me with additional questions about research before then, but I will devote that week’s class to research.
  • Connected to the April 29 research lecture is a change in the final essay project. Instead of emailing me a Word docx file, I will now have you create a post on our OpenLab site for your research essay. I still recommend that you write your essay in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc., but I will give you instructions later this semester about how to create your own post for your essay on our OpenLab site. You will copy-and-paste your work into the post that you create and then publish it. This will create a permanent copy of your work that you can link to from an ePortfolio or show as evidence that you know how to create a post on WordPress, the content management server software that powers about 1/3 of the Internet today!
  • Anyone who hasn’t submitted their midterm notebooks should email a PDF of their notes to Prof. Ellis by Wednesday, Mar. 18.
  • On the last day of class, Wednesday, May 20 (if this changes, I will let you know), there are three things due electronically. First, you will create a post for your research essay on our OpenLab site as discussed above. Second, you will scan your notebooks from the midterm to the final lecture into a PDF and email that PDF as an email attachment to Prof. Ellis. And third, you will have a take-home final exam, which I will email to everyone the week before. Complete it using your favorite word processor, save your work as a Word docx file, and email the docx file to Prof. Ellis.
  • Confirm your final work: For your research essay, you will be able to navigate back to our OpenLab site and see whether your work is visible or not. If it is not, try posting it again. If you have trouble, email Prof. Ellis with details. For your final notebook and take home final exam, please send these as email attachments in SEPARATE emails to Prof. Ellis. I will reply to each email with a confirmation receipt so that you know that I received your work successfully.
  • Please email Prof. Ellis with questions. I will discuss these things in subsequent videos on our OpenLab site.

Announcement: CUNY Response to Coronavirus

You might have all seen the announcements about the “instructional recess” from Mar. 12-18 and the shift to distance learning beginning on Mar. 19.

I will be in class tonight for lecture and collecting notebooks, but as I said yesterday, students may or may not choose to attend depending on their circumstances and personal choice.

Some immediate steps that we can take in our class:

  1. During tonight’s class, while the class is watching the SF film serial films, I will grade and return physical notebooks as I won’t have an easy way to return these to students following tonight’s class.
  2. I’m giving an additional 1-week extension on turning in your notebook as a scanned PDF for those students who do not attend class tonight. Also, if you are in class and want this extra time, you may take it and submit your notebook as a scanned PDF.
  3. For those folks sending me a scanned PDF via email attachment, there’s lots of ways to scan your notes into a PDF. Google Drive and Dropbox apps on iOS and Android feature scanning features. There are free and paid apps that scan documents, too.
  4. I will explain the research project during tonight’s class and include that in the video lecture that I post after tonight’s class.
  5. For those folks who aren’t in class tonight, you can watch the SF film serials Flash Gordon by clicking here and Buck Rogers by clicking here. Watch a few of each to get a sense of what I discuss during lecture.
  6. I will use time over the instructional recess to strategize how best to move our class to distance learning. I’m thinking that it will involve lecture videos, OpenLab-based writing assignments, and the other projects on the syllabus.
  7. Stay tuned to our OpenLab site for further information.
  8. Be well and good luck!

Announcement: Update for 3/11

As you all should know, we are collectively dealing with a new virus that is creating challenges that we’ll need to overcome in order to successfully complete our class (and of course, do all of the other things that we need to do outside of class).

First, I want everyone to know that I don’t want attending our class to be an undue burden or a source of excessive anxiety. If you don’t feel safe attending class in the short term, you can keep up with our class on our OpenLab site (https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/elliseng2420sp2020/) where I post lecture videos and the weekly writing assignments. For the midterm notes assignment, you can, as I said in our previous class, submit your notebook as a scanned PDF or a physical notebook.

Second, as long as City Tech remains open, I will hold class and office hours as regularly scheduled. Being in class does give some advantages to in-person students, such as tomorrow, when we will watch videos of SF film serials. However, I will post links to those videos so that students who are not in class can view them on their own time. Of course, this means that students who don’t attend will need to set aside time for class work and have Internet connectivity to view/download videos. Keep in mind that there are alternative ways to get online from NYCLink, to NYPL and BKPL to other CUNY Libraries (which may be closer to where you live).

Third, if you feel ill or sick, please see a doctor and stay home, working remotely from there. I post everything related to class on the OpenLab site, and if you have any questions about anything relating to the class, you can email me or your classmates.

Fourth, these guidelines are for my class alone. You should check with your other professors about how they intend to run their classes for now. And, these policies might be superseded by new guidelines from CUNY or City Tech, which I will incorporate and communicate to you all as they come into effect.

Be well and good luck!