Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's an Academic To Do on a Snow/Ice "Holiday"

I've been teaching in Indianapolis for 20 years. This is the first time I can remember having the entire campus closed down for two days in a row. What's an academic to do?

Fortunately, the academic profession is not highly weather-sensitive. To begin with, I work at home as much or more than I work at school. So, the fact that school is closed hardly means that I cannot work. The only thing I cannot do on snow/ice days is teach class. I missed one class yesterday because of the storm, but I don't have one scheduled for today. (By the way, using existing technologies I certainly could teach from home, so long as the electricity and internet are working, but it is not yet convenient, via existing university systems, to connect up with students who are not all sitting in a single room together.)

Aside from teaching, I can do (and am doing) virtually everything else I do on a daily basis, including class preparations, internet-based research, and writing/editing everything from articles and book chapters to letters of recommendation, committee reports, and blog posts (like this one).

Even if the electricity (and with it the internet) were to go out, I could still prepare PowerPoint slides for class on my laptop until the battery ran dry. If need be, I could even resort to my BlackBerry for longer battery life. And when all the batteries have run dry, I could simply read by candlelight.

The rest of society may not consider academics to be very productive, but at least we are not rendered substantially less productive by short-term weather events (aside from truly extreme events like tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods).

No comments:

Post a Comment

I actively moderate comments for spam, advertisements, and abusive or offensive language.