End of an Era

after school, in shadow


LEEP away game from 52

Started school, got a great job, felt like I’d finally figured it all out, took some library classes but was much more into the social informatics-type stuff and also my job my job my job. Went to France, dated some, felt pretty alone but also more like myself than ever before, applied to the doctoral program.



e's thinking about grad school process

Started dating Shane, met a bunch of fantastic people, walked the Camino, lost weeks of my life to Moodle, started the doctoral program, got a for real job with the longest title ever, broke my arm, became a master of science!


ITO Crew

Launched Moodle, left the doctoral program, walked at graduation, nationwide job hunt for both of us while working full time and taking three classes, moved to DC, started at the library, took a semester off.

Day 205 - 2/13/08

Day 309 - 5/27/08

Metadata, classes at GW, felt disconnected but actually able to do research at work, had an epiphany and put together a thesis project that addressed practical work and also my research interests, read and worked and collected data, hated job.



Last class, six weeks of frantic writing and revising, defense and Kams, and now….?


important information for everyone at uiuc

To: Faculty, Staff, Students
From: Robert D. Palinkas, M.D.
Director, McKinley Health Center
Subject: Handshaking at Commencement

Because of ongoing concerns about the possibility of spreading the flu virus, students receiving degrees and their families should not shake hands at Commencement if they have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection such as fever and cough.

McKinley Health Center will provide hand sanitizer on the platform at the Assembly Hall ceremonies so that graduates can, if they wish, use it before and/or after receiving their degrees. Members of the official platform party also are encouraged to use the hand sanitizer provided.

Everyone is encouraged to observe the other guidelines to reduce the risk of infection, such as covering coughs and sneezes; avoiding touching eyes, mouth and nose; and washing hands frequently.

Robert D. Palinkas, M.D.

This mailing approved by:
The Office of the Chancellor


graduation day

Yesterday was commencement, and now we are both officially masters of science, even though we both actually finished our degrees in December. Shane’s family was here all weekend, and mine came down for the ceremony and brunch yesterday. It was an exhausting but lovely day, and I’m glad we were both able to participate.

Many congrats to my many friends who celebrated achievements this weekend!

Word on the street – OK, on the ‘nets – is that this is the first time since 1979 that the University has closed because of snow. I made it to work just fine despite waiting for a 20-minutes-late bus – just in time to find out that classes are canceled and non-essential staff are supposed to stay/go home.

Despite this, we’ve made the executive decision to still have classes tonight. I think I’m the only member of tech staff left in the building – only two of us made it in – and it looks like I’ll be chillin’ on the third floor until early evening, when my coworkers will relieve me. So far no instructors have canceled classes, so I may get to do the inconceivable and run 2-3 classes at once. As Linda said, “This will be a new story for LEEPlore–we ran classes during the blizzard of ’07….”

Update: Hey, we’re famous (kind of)!

It’s all very exciting

Yesterday we went live with Moodle for all courses. This replaced our ten year old homegrown course management system, as well as our school intranet. This is tremendously exciting because it represents the culmination of two years of work for me. My coworkers and I, especially our programmer, have worked our asses off for months in preparation for this announcement, and I’m terrifically relieved that it has gone as well as it has so far. As I said to SB last night, it feels wonderful to have been an integral part of a substantive improvement to the way we teach and learn. The next few weeks will be a trial by fire as we work with instructors and students encountering this environment for the first time, but I’m encouraged by the response we’ve had so far. I’ve also recently realized that I really, really love training instructors.

A few years ago I was really lost, lacking direction in my professional or personal life. I was working a job I hated, and was in a relationship that was on its last legs. Three years later I have a job that I love and a wonderful relationship. The good thing is that I seem to have found my place after a lot of struggling – the bad thing is that in the next few months, we’re going to have to make big decisions about future things like jobs and relationships and where we’re going to live. Part of me really hopes that SB can find a job here, even if it’s just for another year or two – but part of me is excited about the idea of starting over in a new city with the man I love. We’ll see!

thesis-ing no more

I’m sitting on the patio at Pekara getting a nice sunburn, drinking water, and listening to pretentious Ebertfest assholes talk about how great they are. Gross. I never want to be that kind of person.

That is not the point of this update.

This week has been about getting my shit straight. I made significant headway this morning. I’ve been struggling under the weight and pressure of a masters thesis – not required by the department or the PhD program – and today I talked to my adviser, who agreed that I could turn it into an independent study which, for the number of credit hours I’m taking, means I’m pretty much done with the work – I just have to do the write up. This means that instead of thesis-ing all summer, I’ll be taking an online class through CTER, and doing whatever I need to do to finish up the research and present it to people who will actually benefit from it. I feel like there’s a tremendous weight off.

On Friday we got the news that once again, my graduate program is ranked #1 by US News & World Report. (press report) We’re actually tied for #1, but that’s good enough for us. Spirits in the building were fantastic on Friday, and a number of people had #1 temporary tattoos on their faces. Exciting!

Also on Friday Shane found out that his fellowship was renewed for another year. This means he’ll be sticking around for a while longer, which is also exciting!