Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Moving On

I finished up the bulk of my planning for the spring semester. Syllabi complete for Basic PTM, Scenic Fabrication & Installation, Entertainment Rigging, and Studiocraft CAD - plus the schedule for Frosh Stagecraft. Pretty much all that's left is pinging on people about thesis. I have to remember not to let that go too long this semester before starting.

We made some changes in a couple of places that caused some venerable projects to drop out. I pencilled in a new course "Advanced Shop Fabrication" for the sophomores concurrent with ScenoFab. It's sort of a "stagecraft 3" for Technical Directors. Ben is teaching it and it will include lots of really crafty items as well as instruction on all the CNC equipment. The upshot of which is that the three weeks I had previously carved out for a pilot for that class are now gone - which is good because I had lost a lot of rigging content I now get to replace; and the joinery project which has been part of the ScenoFab class since its inception goes away. No longer will stage managers suffer through mortise and tenon joints.

A little bit I am missing it already.

The other change is that Basic PTM essentially reverted back to the old Production Planning class. When the change went the other way all of the departmental introduction material moved from my freshman class into the Sophomore Technical Management class. For some reason that just never seemed to work well - something that I actually think is a problem with a third class (stagecraft 2, I'll have to remember to try to fix that) - and so this fall we decided to put that content back in the freshman year. All in all I am fine with it because I kinda felt like the course was stronger in its previous incarnation anyway. The interesting thing was that when I put together the syllabus my organizational chart assignment dropped out. That's weird, because that assignment was part of the old Production Planning class. But somehow in the current configuration (and in my current estimation of the proper amount of homework) it just doesn't fit.

I guess that is ok. For the past couple of years I hadn't felt like the students were getting the same oomph out of the thing that they had before. Something about the way I was teaching the content or more likely the positioning of the assignment with respect to what was being taught in the design classes. Or maybe it has something to do with the nature of the Millennial students. In any case, finding a way to graphically depict all the necessary communication to execute a theatre production is no longer a requirement of Basic PTM.

We'll see if it makes any difference.

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