I know the official end of summer is a month away, but to me, the Sunday before our fall semester starts is the true indicator that the summer has come to an end. This year is also the first that all schools in the state of Hawai‘i follow a unified calendar, so our daughter, along with all public school students throughout the state, started classes three weeks ago. Perhaps I’ll have to move it back yet again and reduce the summer to about seven weeks.
I’m only teaching one class this semester, unless something changes and I need to take on someone else’s Hawaiian language or music class. This semester will be drastically different from previous ones – the class (The History and Development of Hawaiian Music) will be a hybrid. The class will physically meet on campus once a week, on Friday, to listen to audio, watch videos, engage in discussion and to hold our quizzes and exams. All lectures will be delivered via podcast via the University of Hawai‘i’s iTunes U interface. There are some limitations to going this route, but I’m willing to trade off those limitations for the ease of use, and to provide an example for our campus that hopefully others will follow. I started preparing for this step two years ago, by creating PowerPoint lectures and other resources, and simply need to so some minor clean-up and record audio. The podcasts are done both as enhanced podcasts in AAC as well as audio-only in MP3, and lectures available as .pdf dowloads.
I’ve also been coordinating the complete redesign of our college’s website. We have maintained a multiple-language interface since its inception in 1995. However, it has been completely redone so that the language toggling is handled by CSS. All of the text is contained within the document, which makes it much faster than it used to be when when each page needed to be fetched from the server. We also made a significant political decision, and there is no longer an English-only view. Users can either view Hawaiian-only or Hawaiian with an English translation. It was a brilliant idea from one of our faculty members, and was unanimously agreed upon by the rest of us.