Spring Exam Schedule

advisement-1The Spring 2015 Final Exam schedule is now available.

You can go to Genesis (http://genesis.genesee.edu) and find the schedule there — on the outside before you log in. The link to the schedule is usually there every semester.

The direct link is here: http://faculty.genesee.edu/mjheider/finals/finals-201502.htm

Some warnings:

  • your instructor has the final say about the exam time, date, location; he/she can override what is in the schedule
  • the schedule is subject to change; check back as it gets closer to the exam days
  • your course may not be listed; again, check with your instructor
  • your exam time may not be the same time/day as your normal class time; talk to your instructor if this is a problem

Eight weeks to the end of the semester! Time will go by fast!

System Maintenance – 11 pm Saturday to 3 am Sunday

I have to find more to write about — there are lots cooler things to write about besides maintenance announcements!


If you were around last Sunday at all, you probably noticed that the system maintenance that was supposed to only go from 7 am to 1 pm went all day. And, for some parts of it, like to 10:00 pm all day… sigh… it wasn’t pretty.

A piece of equipment unexpectedly crumbled underneath us and the rest of the day was spent cobbling together a work-around to get things up and running at all.

It’s like that glass you reach for in the cupboard – you’re not even reaching for that glass, you’re reaching for another – but you can only watch helplessly as it tumbles to the floor and shatters into a bazillion little shards. You then get to spend the next hour carefully cleaning up and making sure you have all the pieces before you can do anything else. And you never did get that drink of water you wanted in the first place.

While things are up and running, I think I saw some duct tape back there…. ;-)  The replacement equipment has been delivered and it needs to be installed.

From 11:00 pm on Saturday, March 14 to 3:00 am on Sunday, March 15, all systems will be offline as we replace and configure equipment.

All systems will be offline during this time: web, Genesis, Blackboard, faculty/staff email, Banner…. If you gain access during this time, you may be cut off without warning.

Hopefully, this will settle things down as we all march through the second half of the semester! (Pun only half intended!)

Questions? Send me an email! mjheider@genesee.edu — I won’t be up at 3 am but I’ll look for any questions early Sunday morning!

–Mary Jane

PS – Did you know March 14 is “super” Pi day?  3-14-15…..  3.1415…  ;-)   Never going to see that again in our lifetimes!

8 Week Courses Start March 16

A set of 8 week courses start on Monday, March 16.

examEight week courses offer an opportunity to pick up courses, finish your degree or just learn something new — in a relatively short period of time.

These courses are the same courses taught any other time of the year and require the same work – tests, papers and projects — that the 16 week equivalent requires. So the courses should never be thought of as easier… just as faster.

If you’re struggling in a 16 week course, jumping to a new 8 week course may allow you to salvage your grade point average — and your financial aid — for the semester. But you have to really be committed to the 8 week course… you’ll need to do even more homework than you had been doing. Be sure you’re doing this for the right reasons.

The best resource for that 8 week course is the instructor. Send him/her an email, ask if the syllabus is available since you’re considering taking the course. Ask questions and make sure you understand what needs to be done.

8 week courses can be a good way to learn new material for lots of students! Just make sure it’s for you!



More Computer Maintenance – March 8 – 7 am to 1 pm

springbreakSpring has more ‘sproing’ than ‘sprung’ at this point… and can you believe the time change for Daylight Savings time is *this* weekend…. I’m sleep deprived enough that I can’t afford to lose the hour at this point.

Don’t touch office computers or anything; it’ll all reset itself automagically. If the time is not right on Monday, reboot it once, and if it’s still cranky, send an email to helpdesk@genesee.edu and we’ll find a sun lamp for it. You’re on your own for your personal computers, but they should reset fine!

But our intrepid crew of Computer folk will be forging onward, performing system maintenance on Sunday, March 8 between 7 am and 1 pm.

ALL SYSTEMS WILL BE AFFECTED. Not everything will be offline for the entire time, but if you do connect during this time, you may be disconnected without warning.

FACULTY – please warn your online students. Since it’s the start of Spring break, you probably do not have work due, but some of your students may be looking to catch up on Sunday morning… (okay, we know that’s not really going to happen, but someone has to be an optimist about it!)

Me? I have blackout curtains! I’m going to sleep in on Sunday… I need all the sleep I can get!

Questions? Send me an email: mjheider@genesee.edu

–Mary Jane

Computer System Maintenance – Monday, February 16 – 8 am to 4 pm

On February 17 in history*:

  • 1876 – Sardines first canned (Julius Wolff – Eastport, Maine)
  • 1933 – US Senate accepts Blaine Ace: ending prohibition
  • 1949 – Chaim Weitzman elected 1st president of Israel
  • 1967 – Beatles release “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields”
  • 1983 – Netherlands adopts constitution
  • 1996 – Garry Kasparov defeats Deep Blue 4-2 in chess
  • 1998 – USA Women’s Ice Hockey Team beats Canada and wins the first Olympic Gold medal

And joining all those illustrious events:

Monday, February 16th, 2015 – Computer Services performs all day system maintenance; all systems unavailable

Yup! Another glorious day in history, where all electronic systems will be off line between 8 am and 4 pm. This includes: Blackboard, Web, Library, Faculty/Staff email, Banner. If you get connected during this time, you may be disconnected without warning.

And don’t even think about trying to sneak on campus to try to get some work done; we’re going to be rebooting internal systems which means office areas will be disconnected from the network as we reboot those devices.

Questions? You know where I live!

–Mary Jane Heider

Calling the Help Desk with Blackboard Problems/Questions

bb-logo2Honestly? Not the best option.

The problem is, the nice folk on the help desk can tell you if Blackboard / Genesis is up and running *and* they are excellent at helping you with login issues. Beyond that? Nada.

What happens is that the folk at the help desk do not have access to Blackboard and cannot help you with access to courses, questions about why your exam isn’t working or anything else inside the system.

Your options:

  • Always start with your instructor. Contact him/her and describe your problem.
  • Send an email to helpdesk@genesee.edu — the folk there have better access to Blackboard and can better answer your questions.

Now, I’ll admit that the help desk email isn’t watched 24 hours a day, but, well, you get pretty much the same response time whether you call the help desk or send an email to helpdesk@genesee.edu. That’s because your Blackboard questions are ALL answered by the folk who work in Batavia. So whether you call the phone number at 11 pm on Saturday night, or send an email at 11 pm on a Saturday night, no one may get back to you until Monday morning.


So be patient with the folk on the phone if you do call. They don’t have access, can’t help you and can only take a message that gets passed on to us in Batavia.

Questions? Send an email to the help desk email or to online@genesee.edu — we’ll be glad to help!

Winter Courses – What Really Happens!

It sounds like such a good idea.

Take the ‘break’ between the Fall and Spring semesters and make some courses available… students can take a course to either catch up and/or get ahead on something they might need.

So, glutton for punishment that I am, I offered to teach Statistics (Mat 129) over the Winter session. An entire semester of Stats in 26 days.

I’ll tell you, I learned a lot!

One of the best things I did was to be relentless with the workload warnings before the start of the session. Starting in mid-November, I started sending emails to students with a draft course schedule. I was blunt about how much work the course was and the expectations I had. I told students that if they didn’t have 20-30 hours per week to devote to the course, they should re-think their plans. A lot of students dropped from that alone!

What I didn’t quite plan on was my own workload. I was warning students that they really had to figure how Christmas and New Year’s would figure into their workload, and then I find myself with enough family obligations that I didn’t get any work done on the course over those days myself! And now that we’ve reached PAD week and Spring classes start next week, I’m scrambling to keep up with the correcting and feedback.

Being the last part of the course during this week, a good number of students are also struggling. Test 3 was due Monday (yesterday) and I’ve had to add an extra day since a good portion of the class wasn’t finished. But that puts them further behind, since the class technically ends on Friday and the final exam is due on Saturday at midnight. (I suspect that will slide to Sunday, but don’t tell anyone!) So there’s a ton of work for all of us to do this week.

Will I do it again? Probably! I did end up with a great group of students and they’re hard working. I only had a couple of students ‘walk away’ from the course and not finish it. That’s going to be an excellent completion rate for a traditionally tough course, much less in the 4 week session.

I will be even tougher next time on warning students about the workload. It’s not for the faint hearted or anyone struggling with their math skills. Computer skills and access turn out to be really important. A dependable working computer is key, especially since there’s no real time to re-group and find another place to work.

Teaching a Winter class was an interesting experience! Hope my students thought so, too!