The Texture Of Things

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January 3rd, 2008

I know most of you think I’m a genius. I’m not. I just have the luxury of choosing what I put on the blog. Still, there are moments when I’m pretty sure I’m average, putting me ahead of about half the populace. There is, of course, still room for error there.

Last week, I emailed my request for a Blackboard site for my upcoming class. Blackboard is an online, um, thingie that will let my students, um, do stuff like check their grades and download handouts that they’ve lost. Again. On my end, it’ll act as an electronic gradebook, saving me (I’m not exaggerating here) at least three hours of my life come the end of the semester and I have to figure grades. I think an exchange of three hours at the end of the semester for a half an hour every week for 15 weeks sounds like a pretty good deal*, so I sent the request along with a small prayer that the learning curve is not as steep as I think it will be.

The request is a form on the faculty side of the school’s website. I entered all of the information, including the dates of the course, registration code and the course ID (which are unique each semester).

What do you think I got in my inbox today? An email that looked a little like this:

To: amy
Fr: School Web Dude in Charge of Setting Up Blackboard Sites
Date: Today
Subject: Winter ’08 Course Site

Email body:
Please verify the semester for this new course.
Thank you.

[Information from the form I filled out, with semester info missing even though I had filled it in.]

end transmission


I don’t know about all you all, but if s/he had enough information to make a calculated guess about the semester for the email subject field, plus the registration information, I’m not sure why I needed to verify it. I did verify it, of course, but I felt like the whole exchange is a layer in a giant practical joke.

To: School Web Dude in Charge of Setting Up Blackboard Sites
Fr: amy
Date: Today
Subject: RE: Winter ’08 Course Site

Email body:
Winter ’08 (Jan-April 2008).

end transmission

Am I missing something?

* That’s math, y’all.


  1. KLee says

    Some techie guys can be so totally clueless. Though, JF is a tech guy, and he usually GETS those emails, rather than sending them. Stuff like: “the internet in the dorms is busted.” While this seems, on the surface to be a relatively lucid email, you might have failed to notice that the sender gives no information that would lead the tech to FIND them. No name, no dorm name, no dorm number…

    I hear that Blackboard is a very useful tool. If it saves you heartache, I say go for it!

    January 4th, 2008 | #

  2. H.G. says

    I don’t find that particularly offensive. I mean, after all it was really just a validation.

    The person could have written, “Please verify that you are alive and able to respond to this email so I know its not a bad person impersonating you.” …Or something to that effect, and it would have had the same result.

    It’s similar to when you write “Ask for ID” on the back of your credit card… except that you didn’t ask this time…

    Sorry to rip all the humor out of your observation, but as an IT worker myself, I see it as my responsibility… I mean the part about humor…


    January 4th, 2008 | #

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