Thursday, July 30, 2020

Puzzle Fun Continues

More batches of puzzles have arrived from Virginia over the past week.  Three more boardwalk puzzles (500 pieces each) came in a few days ago, and today I received what it prob ably the last one for now, a 16" x 20" puzzle of the Vesuvio restaurant.  Our first test was of a 1000 piece puzzle, which is a size I remember from my youth,  but Jenny wanted to experiment with some smaller sizes as well, and I agreed.  I took home two of the boardwalk puzzles to try, and then the one from today to do eventually. I do have a folding table that will hold one of those completed puzzles, and started on the Boardwalk Miniature Golf puzzle.  I still think the completed 500 piece puzzle will fit on that table, but it doesn't leave me a lot of room to work with.  I started with a classic strategy, separate the edge pieces first and build the outer edge first (is that why I start my woodcuts that way?) and have been working to build my edge, when I have time to work on it.  I've been able to put together some of those edges, but now I realize that I only have about half the pieces I need to complete the edge of the rectangle.  Since it came directly sealed from the factory, I think this means I need to go back through the pile of pieces and search for more edge pieces.

My other big task for now is getting ready for fall classes.  Still more than a month to go, but that will go quickly. Still a lot of questions about how things will work if we can't be in a classroom with our students.  This past spring we did everything online, but the school decided that whatever happened in the future, we would have to put everything online and use the system they wanted, which is one that has been rejected by numerous colleges and local school boards, but the administrators like it, so that is what will be.  I have been assigned two sections, and according to the school they are fully enrolled, so I have to get prepared.  I was sent an 80 page document covering the new class last week, and found it had little relationship to what I have taught since they hired me in 2004. And I will still need to learn this online system,  so I signed up for a week long online training session (required) that will happen in August, but first they are recommending a short background session, which I did yesterday. Our computer cameras and microphones were activated for the occasion, if people had them, so I got to see a bunch of the other participants in the training. Most appeared to be older than me and more confused (the "trainer" rapidly showed us a lot of features but didn't teach us anything) so I am no more confident of this working than before.  Maybe the week long training will actually teach us something, otherwise next semester may be a disaster. If it happens.  Today we got email telling us that they are now considering social distancing rules, and have to consider if we want to try cutting the class size in half and teach two half size classes each week, or a full class every other week.  Either way, they have given me more to do for the class, and half the time to cover it.  As I said, a disaster seems to be coming. I'm sure there is more to this story to come.


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