The elevator goes down instead.
The doors open and we are pushed out with the other passengers in the elevator car into what appears to be the utility room. My family and I are pushed out as everyone else exits far enough away that we are unable to reach the elevator doors in time to ride back up.
We wait a while for the elevator to return.
It finally arrives and we are able to enter the elevator in time after everyone else exits. Where are all of these hotel patrons going to in the basement utility room? I don't know - its a dream.
We ride up to the lobby where more people board. I check to ensure that the floor six button has been pushed - it has - it is alight.
The elevator goes up past the 6th floor. On floor 8 people exit. The floor 6 button is still glowing. Why didn't it stop on the 6th floor? The elevator continues up and stops periodically letting more people off on their floor. This continues until my spouse, daughter and I are the only three in the elevator car. The elevator continues to go up past the 18th floor. I thought there were only 18 floors in this hotel...
The elevator continues to rise and then from above, walls come down into the elevator car separating my spouse, daughter and I into separate cars. I am now alone in my own personal elevator.
As the elevator continues its ascent, the car starts to slowly tip on its side. Slowly enough that I am able to adjust where I am standing so that now I stand on the wall of the car. The car continues to tip until what was up is now down - I am standing on what was the ceiling of the car while the elevator gathers speed until I am riding down and doing loops as if I am on an amusement park roller-coaster. This continues (I do not up-chuck my lunch! how is that possible with this ride? I don't know - its a dream) until the elevator slows down and stops. The doors open, I step outside into the lobby where I started.
I am alone. Now five of the six elevators are out of order. I look around but do not see my family. The one remaining working elevator opens its doors and I step inside and press floor six. I am the only occupant. The elevator again ascends past floor six. I continue to rise as the elevator gathers speed. The walls of the elevator start to close in around me. I am being squished thin like bread dough is kneaded into a long thin baguette. I am getting thinner - stretched out. I am being squished. I can't breathe. I can't...
I wake up.
I just finished a term in which I had to hastily switch from teaching my courses face-to-face using team-based learning to remotely teaching online. I continued to use team-based learning online using the breakout rooms in Zoom to facilitate my teams working on groups tests and applications of their learning which involved me simultaneously navigating between different breakout rooms, team quizzes on our LMS, and various Google Docs or Google Slides depending upon the in-class activity. On top of that, I acceded to student requests to record our synchronous mini-lectures and learned how to edit and post those online through Zoom. By the end of the term, I was getting nauseated at the thought of moderating another multi-modal synchronous class meeting. I was suffering from the stimulus and cognitive overload in terms of managing a class that was set up for F2F and now was trying to be replicated online.
As soon as my course grades were submitted at the beginning of May and the term put to bed, I was required to jump in and consider revisions to our core curriculum and degree programs. Revisions that we had been planning for the last year or more but had finally come to the final push to get the details down on paper: which courses were revised? which new courses introduced? Which courses dropped? How does that affect the prerequisite structure of the program? Map our learning outcomes to the constellation of required courses. Think through those learning outcomes to ensure they make sense. Consider how our program changes affected the requirements of other programs. Go back and revise in response to the moving target that is campus-wide curriculum renewal.
Finally, we had our Faculty Council meeting and the necessary motions were passed.
It is now the end of May and I am faced with managing to re-think my courses so that they may be delivered well as an online course for Fall 2020. I am being charged to do this well this time rather than the triage of remote delivery (in contrast to online delivery I am told). I have two courses assigned to me in the fall that require restructuring for online delivery. How do I do that? How is that different from the triage that I just finished of remotely delivering my F2F courses? I have never done online teaching before. Here, I am told is an online course that will get me up to speed. Expect to take some time to complete this online course on online teaching. Becoming an online instructor does not happen overnight. I am told that normally it takes 12-18 months to produce one good online course. I have three months remaining (it is the end of May) to prepare two online courses.
In Alberta, our provincial government has made drastic cuts to education in response to the decline in oil revenues. All budgets, all departments at my university are being cut... drastically. My seconded part-time position as Assoc Director of our CTL is being closed at the end of June. As a result, I am asked to pick up a third course to teach online for the fall term. Ok, I say, I'll prepare one course per month: June, July, August. But don't forget to keep up with your research and by the way, would you also please help your colleagues think through how to transition to online learning (not remote delivery). Sure, I can do that.
So, first-year biology will be done in June, 2nd-year Molecular Cell Biology I can convert in July, and then I will try and squeeze in a revisioning of my 3rd yr biochemistry course in August. I can do that.
But wait! It looks like there is a very good chance that we will still be online in the winter term. I am told to prepare for that contingency. So that is two more courses to prepare for the winter after the fall is completed. But wait! there is no time between the end of the fall term and the beginning of the winter term to restructure two more courses for online delivery. I'll have to do those courses also during the three remaining summer months.
Ok, ok, 3 months times 4 weeks each equals 12 weeks. So five courses divided into 12 weeks equals a little more than 2 weeks time to prepare each of those 5 courses. Phew! can I do this? Oh sure you can, just use your graduate students to help you. My campus is an undergraduate campus - I don't have graduate students. Oh, that's ok, just employ your TAs to give you a hand. No, we don't have TAs, I just told you that we are an undergraduate campus. Oh, that's ok, we are certain that your CTL can give you a hand converting your F2F courses to online courses. No, I told you before that our CTL is experiencing drastic budget and personnel cuts just like everywhere else across the university in response to Jason Kenney's cuts to education. Oh, it appears you will just need to make the transition on your own. But you will be empowered to do that once you complete the online course that teaches you how to teach online.
Oh, but by the way, you will need to pick up a 6th course in the winter term. Remember that our campus has a teaching load of three courses per term and because you are no longer Assoc Director you need to make that up with an extra course in the fall (ok, got that one - first-year BIO), plus another one in the winter. Ok... if that is what I need to do. What are you going to assign me?
Biological Diversity is what we have left for you: first-year biodiversity. But I am a biochemist. Sorry, that's what we have available for you. Thanks for helping us to decrease our sessional instructor budget. But I haven't taken general biological diversity since 1978 when I was in grade 11. I took an invertebrate survey course once as an undergrad but that is all. No problem, you are an experienced teacher you can do this. But I have never taught this course before. I have never taught online before.
No problem, just take this online course that will teach you how to teach online and you will be fine.
I wake up.