I just got back from the second lecture that I’ve attended since starting here at RIT. As part of my preparations for next quarter, I am sitting in on the classes I’ll be teaching in spring. Tonight was a really valuable experience. I got to experience what happens when a “smart” classroom turns dumb. The overhead projector refused to acknowledge the existence of the instructor’s laptop. While the teacher eventually emerged victorious, the ensuing hot man-on-computer wrasslin’ match was a sobering demonstration of how quickly technology problems can disrupt a class. The incident was in stark contrast to classes at the University of Chicago, where dry-erase markers are looked upon as unproven technology compared to tried and true chalk.

From this incident I learned to make sure to arrive early and test the equipment. In the instructor’s defense, his planned pre-flight was stymied because the preceding class ran over, providing him no prep time. Thus a secondary lesson is to expect the unexpected.

Beyond projector issues, I learned that I have managed to retain a lot of the fundamental printing knowledge that was instilled in me over a decade ago within these brick lined walls. Professor Hoff, where ever you are, I just want to say thank you. This means that I can spend much more prep time structuring the material, as opposed to relearning it. That said, the structuring will be no easy task. The goal of this course is to present a solid and relevant overview of the various printing processes and the printing industry. There is a large amount of interconnected information in there and my first order of business is to decide what’s essential and what order it should come in. An interrelated challenge is to appropriately set subject “depth,” ensuring that I avoid going to shallow or making students take too many drinks from the fire-hose.

Needless to say, I’m excited about meeting these challenges. I’m beginning to see how I can make a difference and how a new perspective will be useful.