Doing great things is not done in a bubble. I think that all great things get done because of teamwork. (Okay, I am sure that there are some people who can do it alone, but I believe in teamwork, so go with me here.) Perhaps this is why so many people have a “right-hand man.” In my case, it’s my left-hand men who help the Learning Technology Departmental Impact Grant be successful.
Rob Griffiths, my co-investigator and project lead from Learning Technology in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, is invaluable to “Too Many Students, Too Little Time.” Rob has the ability to think of things for our team to consider that may seem outside the box for me. Often he comes up with questions that I have not thought of yet. His support from the beginning of this project to where it is now has been fantastic. Just this week we met with one of the project’s external evaluators, and Rob’s excitement about what we are doing was completely evident. When I lost Kythrie Silva (the other half of my brain on this) to a position outside of the university, I had no idea how I was going to get this project up and running. I feel that Rob has stepped in to ensure the success of this project, and he steps in selflessly. One of our graduate students who was my research assistant this summer relished in the times that Rob kept me on the “straight and narrow” about committing to times to get things done. I needed this support because everything seemed overwhelming for a while. Now, things are manageable. Rob is a left-handed man.
Tom Marker, computer support guru from the Department of Statistics, has been found running a VGA cable to me across campus to make sure that I can teach for the class that meets before the pilot class. He may call himself “The Thwarter,” “Mr. Thwartastic,” and “Thwartalicious,” but he is nothing other than helpful. His interest in this project is genuine, and Tom has been on top of thinking about what technology things could/might go wrong, allowing him to correct them before they could go wrong. Tom is a left-handed man.
Mark Risser, research assistant (RA) and doctoral student in the Department of Statistics, is a calming force for me. Mark and I talked about him being my RA for this year way back in winter/spring 2011. There’s something that clicks between us. Occasionally I feel guilty about keeping him out of the classroom, because he will be an amazing classroom teacher. We talk about this and are both happy that we are working together on the project. Mark is in the classroom every day, helping us build community between the students in the physical classroom and the students attending lecture via Adobe Connect. Mark and I have talked about plans for the year in terms of how we hope to make changes each quarter so that we can strive to create a true backchannel for the students, which will allow them to answer each others questions during lecture. Mark is a left-handed man.
Do I have a soft spot for left-handed men? Is there something about left-handed men that gives them a unique take on what we are doing with “Too Many Students, Too Little Time”? Or, is this just one of those probability problems (if you select three men at random from the population of men who would be interested in this project, what is the probability that all three will be left-handed?)?
I wanted to use this post to recognize my left-hand men. Thank you Rob, Tom, and Mark. This is our project. And, by all accounts, we are doing something right (or should I say left?).
Disclaimer: There are other people who are integral to this project, but I wanted to recognize my left-handed men.