Author Archives: Sean Patrick Palmer

The thought process behind my project — from Sean

One quick note: I could keep tinkering with this project, so I am stopping here. If/when I revisit it, I’m sure I will continue.


Pedagogy courses naturally concentrate on theory, but because of that focus, these courses don’t really provide guidance on how to structure or manage a class. All the theory in the world won’t help an instructor who is struggling to navigate the hazards of teaching. Further, while some colleges and departments have mentorship and sample syllabi, many don’t. Many just push their new hire into the classroom with little to no help. This class should give prospective instructors an idea of what to expect. It won’t prepare novice instructors for everything, but, hopefully. It will give those taking the class some idea of what to expect and how to cope. 


The biggest limitation to this proposal is the lack of practice instruction. When I was in grad school in Illinois, the program had a teaching practicum wherein we taught English to the partners of international graduate students. I don’t think that this would be an option at the Grad Center. A possible solution would be to have the students teach lessons to one another, but I’m not sure of the efficacy of that. Also, this would take a tremendous amount of time, including everything from discussing lesson plans to performance tips. This would have to be its own course. 

Another potential criticism is that, the way I picture it, this course would not have much theory to it. It would be concerned with taking the knowledge the students already have and applying it directly. I think that graduate school frequently focuses so much on theory that it can lead to paralysis by analysis. 

On a more personal level, I do not know how course proposals work at the grad center, but I know how curriculum development works at LaGuardia, and it’s nightmarish. It’s a great deal of work with no guarantee of reward. Further, even if I did propose it, I don’t think my odds of actually teaching it are low. When I finish this program, I will have two Master’s degrees, but no PhD. That matters. 

Still, I think this framework has a great deal of value, in discussing how to maneuver within the power structure, how to set things up to help students, and how to navigate the bureaucracy, which is always a challenge. 

Notes on the project

I want the students to choose an intro level course, because, odds are, as a new hire, that’s what they’ll be teaching. I don’t care which campus they choose, but most CUNY schools should have the forms and policies I ask for on their websites. 

In the general discussion of their courses. I want them to see how many sections their courses run. I want them to think about when and how the course is taught, and how many times per week the class meets. After all, evening classes have a different feel to them than day courses. Even during the day, different time slots have different challenges. Finally, They need to familiarize themselves with CUNYFirst because that program is not user-friendly. 

In terms of organization, they need to know what topics they are required to cover, and which ones are optional. Some courses have more room for freedom than others. Also, there is no one way to organize a class. For instance, when I teach Voice and Diction, I start with a discussion of consonant sounds, then move onto vowels, with the topics gradually getting more and more complicated. However, many people will start with word stress, because English word stress is a complicated mess, but learning the stress patterns really helps pronunciation. Both approaches are valid.  

For assignments, again, they need to check to see what is required. For instance, at LaGuardia, Public Speaking requires three speeches: self introduction, informative, and persuasive. Many instructors add a fourth or fifth. For instance, I add a short speech where my students have to present a chart or graph. I do this to help them deal with visual aids. After finding out what is required, they can add what they want. I would include in this section the fact that the first time instructors run a project, it tends to be a bit of a disaster area. That’s fine. Learn from it and refine. I have been running the states project for over fifteen years, I still have to tweak it. 

Where technology in the class is concerned, I firmly believe that if an instructor doesn’t know how to use an app or a program, that instructor has no business assigning student projects using it. If the students get lost in the app, the instructor can’t help them, and, further, the instructor can’t really assess the process of the project if they don’t know how to actually do it. I have advised instructors to do a test run of new projects before assigning them.

Especially for courses that run many sections, a textbook is assigned by the department and the instructor has to live with it. However, there will sometimes be more freedom in choosing supplemental materials. Instructors can also develop their own OER, but that is time-consuming, and can lead to burnout, especially at the adjunct level

Having all the student services in one place makes sense. They don’t need to include it on the syllabus, but they shou;d put that information SOMEWHERE. I put the student services information both on my syllabus and on Blackboard. 

Some of the college policies need to be on the syllabus. Things like the plagiarism policy (just link to it) and the attendance policy need to be on the syllabus. I also ask about how strict the attendance policy because, at LaGuardia, it used to be that if students miss more than 15% of class (two weeks or so), they would automatically fail. At least half the faculty, myself included, did not enforce this. In my experience, if a student misses that much class, odds are they are failing without invoking the policy. Further, I have had many students who did technically violate the attendance policy, but had extenuating circumstances, so I just ignored it. For what it’s worth, LaGuardia is in the process of reworking this policy, and just sent out a document discussing it, but it is still under discussion so I hesitate to share it. It basically gives the various departments the right to establish their own policies. We’ll see how this is implemented, though it is interesting that one of the reasons the policy is under revision is that it’s too strict, but all the options that were proposed are stricter. So, I am confused. . 

Grading can be surprisingly complicated. For instance, while I understand the idea of the WU grade, there really aren’t hard and fast guidelines on when to use it. Further, at LaGuardia, at least, instructors cannot just give an incomplete. Students need to request one, and that student needs to have a GPA of over 2.0. 

If the class is targeted for assessment, get it done as soon as possible. Sometimes, this isn’t possible until over halfway through the term, That’s fine. Also, sometimes, every section of a particular course has to do the exact same assignment for assessment. 

The observation protocol is actually in the contract, so, while there is some variation, the basics are there. I’m sure the forms differ across campus, the general guidelines remain the same. Remember that the instructor can comment on an evaluation, and, if the instructor thinks the evaluation is extremely unfair, it can be grieved. Also, instructors need to know just how seriously the student surveys are taken and the protocol for administering them. 

I didn’t include this in the project because I don’t think I would have time to really discuss it, but new hires should absolutely read the policy on reappointment. They should also know when reappointment letters are sent out. At LaGuardia, for example, for full-timers, the letters are sent out in mid-November, which means that, if someone is not reappointed, they find out in November, and then have to work the rest of the school year. This is less than ideal. However, it does make some sense. It gives the non-reappointed person time to organize an appeal and find another job in Academia, since full-time job postings in Academia tend to start in November for the following school year.  

Odds are, the instructor will have to use online platforms. Minimize the number used in class. At the graduate level, using five or six different platforms can make sense. This exposes grad students to various tools. At the undergraduate level, so many different platforms can overwhelm students. Also, sometimes, instructors are required to use publisher platforms and the quizzes they provide. If so, figure out how to fit them into the class. 

Finally, the last few weeks of the course pulls all these ideas together, to hopefully produce a draft of a syllabus and, hopefully, provide a better understanding of how to survive and even thrive in the CUNY system. 


I would like to thank Brie Scolaro for help in brainstorming this idea, and my colleague Sebastian Pieciak for his help in refining the project. 

Care and Institutions — from Sean

I am not a fan of the forest metaphor. Partially because I’ve spent time in forests and did not enjoy it at all and partially because it drifts too much towards the whole “noble savage” thing for my tastes. 

I’m not saying that the piece is bad or wrong. It makes many valid points, I just don’t care for the metaphor. 

It has been my experience that you cannot look for any care from the institution. A few stories:

Eight or nine years ago, one of our adjuncts was physically attacked by a former student. The student had been suspended for academic reasons and blamed my colleague. So, the student assaulted him at the end of a class. 

What did the administration do? Not a single (expletive) thing. They didn’t even offer my colleague counseling until our area coordinator made so much noise they couldn;t ignore him. 

The next term, my colleague was teaching three sections of public speaking. Guess who was in one of them? Yes, the student who attacked him. My colleague walked out and refused to teach the class. 

Added bonus: this happened before the online sexual harassment and workplace violence prevention training started, so we were visited by human resources about these topics at the next department meeting. We asked if the college would back us up if a student attacked us and we defended ourselves. 

They did not give a straight answer, which, to be clear, means “no”. 


Then in 2018, several of our instructors were having issues with students: one was being stalked, another was threatened, a third was being harassed by students, so our department chair organized a panel with four people from counseling and public safety. Let me boil down their commentary.

Person one (public safety): Immediately get security involved. Document everything. File a report the day it happens. 

Person two (not sure where this person was from but they had the flat, emotionless affect of a serial killer): Whatever you do, do not get security involved. 

Person three: You need to get in touch with your department chair if this is an issue.*

Person four (this is paraphrasing, but it’s what he meant): Students are acting up because none of you can teach.

So, we don’t have anything that resembles coherence at the administration level for safety concerns. We aren’t the only campus like this. I’ve heard tales from a few other campuses. 

*At one point, the official policy was that we couldn;t contact campus security if an incident took place until we had cleared it with our department chair. My chair announced at a meeting that he gave all of us permission to do what we needed to. 

Yes, these are extreme examples and not everyday occurrences by any means, but I’ve also seen the administration screw with faculty and staff who have lost a loved one or who are on leave.  

My point is that the administration will do nothing, unless you find someone higher up in the power structure to advocate for you. You need to establish relationships with colleagues (as difficult as that can be sometimes) so that when things go wrong you have a safe place to turn for advice and comfort. 

I do not know how we can hold institutions accountable for their (lack of) action. In many ways, I’m concerned for my own future at LaGuardia because my current area coordinator is stepping down at the end of June, and the new coordinator is… not tech friendly**, and therefore, does not see much value in what I do. 

I’m just tambling now, so I’m going to stop, and I apologize because I feel that this might not be exactly on topic. 

**And in the year 2023, not being tech friendly shouldn’t fly, but this is one of those “I’ve been teaching this way since the Pleistocene” people. It’s frustrating. 

Some thoughts from Sean

Some thoughts after doing the readings:

The Bisam piece reminded me of my first trip to grad school, when I was getting my degree in Teaching English a Second Language. At the time, this degree was awarded from the Division of English as an International Language, and it attracted a lot of Christian missionaries. 

I am gay. 

This was not always the best environment. The professors were fine, as were many of my fellow grad students, but the ones that weren’t REALLY weren’t. 

I got the conversations that pretty much every queer person in the 90’s (and earlier) got – you know– “When did you decide to be gay?” “Have you tried prayer?” “I’m fine with gay people, as long as you aren’t TOO gay.” That sort of thing. 

Here’s the issue: I could have filed complaints. I’m pretty sure that the university had an anti-LGBT policy, but the sheer volume of drama that would have caused would not have been worth it. 

So, I minimized my contact with those particular grad students and became monumentally unpleasant when they said something out of line. The peak moment of this was when I was teaching English to incoming international MBA students and, at a weekly meeting with all the grad students teaching there, one of the Christians went off on a tangent, discussing his own personal theories of why people are queer. 

Nowadays, I would have said, “Sir, this is a Wendy’s.” 

However, back then… I said something like “What the (expletive) does that (expletive) have to with any-(expletive)-thing?” 

Afterwards, our supervisor pulled me aside, and said that while she understood my anger, I was out of  line. She went silent when I asked why she didn’t shut the guy down. 

I never got a response. 

In other words, you can’t really rely on power structures to help you, and, honestly, fighting is exhausting, so people normally end up picking their fights. 


The Praxis Program Charters

I thought these were by and large interesting and there is a lot here to compliment. The idea of setting up an environment that is open and that accepts failure is important and useful. Keeping everyone informed of each other’s progress (or lack thereof) is also an excellent idea. 

A lot of this boils down to having lines of communication, which is the idea and it’s great when it can be pulled off. 

However, the level of socializing within the cohorts got to me after a while. I guess this is because I don’t like most of the people I work with. This isn’t to say I hate them… I’m just not friends with most of them. Having a weekly lunch or drinks with them sounds painful, and I say this as an extrovert. 

I spend my workday with them, but once I’m done, I want to be literally anywhere else. I like to keep my social life and my work life separate.   

But, like I said, overall, I genuinely support most of what was said in these. 

Be careful with empathy.

by Sean

I am not an empathic person, at least in the way it’s defined in the readings, but I’m fine with that. I think the people supporting the notion of empathy in the classroom frequent;ly take it too far. I’ve seen way too many college-level instructors who seem to think that they should be friends with their students. Ethically, that’s not a good idea. The classroom should have a friendly atmosphere. Most of us don’t learn well in a hostile environment, after all. Still, instructors should maintain some distance. At the end of the day, you. As an instructor, you can’t care more about their grades or their performance than they do.  

And if you haven’t had the underperforming student who can do better but chooses not to, you will. Heck, most of us have BEEN that student. I certainly have. 

Further, empathy can come across as fake to many students. Let me tell you a story. About a decade ago, I gave a quiz in my Voice and Diction class on material they had a month to learn and they bombed hard. 

Now, I’m teaching linguistic theory, and, if you’ve never thought about language this way, there’s a learning curve. And several students were having issues. For them, I just corrected their work and moved on. However, several students had been doing consistently well, and bombed the quiz anyway. I was… less than nice. I remember three comments:

“On the next quiz, you should use a pencil. You’ve scratched out so many things here that it look less like a quiz and more like a recently-released classified document.”

On another:

“Is following directions against your religion or something?”


“I guess I can take comfort in the fact that you didn’t cheat.”

All three were visibly unhappy, which I was not happy about their quizzes either, so I was fine with it. 

At the end of class, they came up to me and one of them said:

“None of us liked what you wrote, but at least we know where we stand with you. You’re angry. In interpersonal Communication, we did badly on an assignment, and the professor said ‘What matters is that you tried.’ Then, she hugged* us. It was weird. We got a D on that assignment. It just felt like bullshit.” 

(These aren’t exact words, but close enough. Well, the bs line was accurate.)

So, be careful with empathy. It can come off as phony and alienate students.

*Don’t do this.

A Case of Self-Censorship

by Sean

(Swear words ahoy!)

We have to watch what we say in a professional environment, but how much we have to censor ourselves can vary based on who we’re dealing with. 

Case in point, my former supervisor, Louis, was like me in that he was blunt and had very little filter. Also, he was a linguist and so am I, so he understood what I do in the Voice and Diction classroom and approved. 

So, when I decided to start teaching the use of the word “fucking” as an infix, I knew he would have my back.* Students really enjoy this lesson, and it works in the class because I discuss it during discussions of word stress, which in English, is both dry and complicated. It breaks up the class and reinforces the idea that the things we’re discussing aren’t just theoretical. 

When I told Louis I was teaching this lesson, he laughed and said that it was great. 

Unfortunately, Louis passed away in 2020, and was replaced by someone else, Andy, who doesn’t really understand what I do. He has a much different view of our area and major, and, frankly, I don’t know how I fit into it. 

As a result, I’ve stopped teaching this lesson. I don’t know how Andy would react to it. Rather than deal with whatever fallout would come from a discussion of this, it was just easier to drop the lesson. 

It’s unfortunate because I think it’s a great lesson, but I don’t need the drama of dealing with someone saying that what I’m teaching isn’t worth focusing on. 

*Short form explanation: English speakers insert the word “fucking” as an intensifier – for instance “incredible” is great but “in-fucking-credible” is MORE. Inserting “fucking” into a word follows rules and is predictive. It is inserted before the primary stressed syllable of a word. For instance, the base word is “fantastic”… the correct inflected form is “fan-fucking-tastic”: it’s not fantast-fucking-ic”. Speakers of English know this without explicitly knowing the rules involved. 

LaGuardia did a stupid thing — a bonus post from Sean

Disclaimer: I’m posting this on the course blog of the other course I’m taking.

On Thursday, the college president’s office sent out a mass email apologizing for “the misrepresentation of our students on the LaGuardia website.”

The administration had already taken down the webpage in question before this apology was published, so I had to go looking for the offending webpage. I turned to Twitter, where I found a copy, which I’ve posted here. 

The text starts off fine:

LaGuardia Community College students are not what most people have in mind when they think of college students.

If it stopped there, I don’t think anyone would have cared. Unfortunately, here was the next  sentence: 

Our students are frequently from low-income households, with limited to no skills, few or no social connections, and no manners, faced with language barriers or immigrant challenges, often older, sometimes needing a high school equivalency diploma and balancing work and education. 

Nan, this is wildly offensive. You could rephrase this as, “Our students are the dregs of society  and aren’t we spectacular for trying to civilize them?” (I do not believe this, to be clear) There is absolutely a tone of white savior-dom here and a great deal of self-congratulation. 

While this would be awful at any time, right now, when the student population has crashed, this is especially damning.

Everyone I’ve spoken to who has looked at this have had the same reaction: we are horrified and we have questions. Let’s start with these:

Who wrote this? How did this get approved? Who looked at this and said, “Yup, This is perfect! Let’s go!”?

Now, let’s look at the apology:

Here’s a relevant quote 

The inappropriate and offensive content on the Student Profiles page was written in 2018 by outside fundraising consultants who are no longer affiliated with the college. How it was allowed to see the light of day is a mystery to us.


  1. This was written in 2018? The administration is either saying that this webpage has been up for five years, or the college has been sitting on this thing and decided to unleash it now. It is almost certainly the second, but having it in storage for FIVE YEARS is … an interesting choice. Even if it was not looked at while archived (which I can understand), how did someone somewhere not check it before it was posted. 
  2. Outside fundraising consultants? I doubt this one. This feels a little too personal, like the person writing the copy was burned out and/or angry at the college. We have been on emergency footing since 2020, and that wears on you. 
  3. The last part… they mystery thing… I do believe that our administration is that clueless, though I’m guessing that they could find out if they wanted to. IT carefully controls who has the ability to edit the website. However, I read this as “We’re going to claim that this is a MYSTERY so that no one has to take responsibility for it.” And, yes, in my opinion heads should roll over this. 

Why a DH class wouldn’t fly at LaGuardia

A bonus post from Sean

On Tuesday, I brought up that a Digital Humanities class wouldn’t happen at LaGuardia. I think I should explain why in some detail. 

  1. We don’t have that many people interested in it, and those that might be are scattered across areas and departments. 
  2. I would prefer to have support from our area coordinator and department chair. I don’t think I could get that right now. 
  3. Even if I had their approval, I would face a fight at the departmental curriculum committee. Some of their questions would be on point, such as what skills would this class highlight, but there would also be fights over turf. We have ten (soon to be eleven) different major programs in the Humanities Department, and I would be asked why the DH class should be in the Communication Studies Area, why shouldn’t it be in any of the other ones?*
  4. When last I checked, when we propose new courses now, we also have to figure out where it fits into Pathways and start that process, too.** 
  5. So, after doing all of that, I would need to go to the College Wide Curriculum Committee. Turf issues would likely show up again. After all, the folks in the English Department and in the Modern Languages could say that a DH class should be under their auspices as well.***
  6. Finally, if I got it through all of that, since my full time position is non-instructional instructional staff, and my teaching is an adjunct, there is no guarantee I would get to teach it. Any of the full timers could request to teach it and bump me.****

*When an adjunct and I proposed Intro to Sports Media, the New Media Studies and Film and TV people said we had no business doing this. We had to rework the proposal to “Sports COmmunication”, focusing on podcasting and radio work, which has worked out, but the Film and Studies person actually went to the Dept Chair to try to squash the proposal all together. 

**And this process isn’t a guarantee. I have tried at least six times to get Voice and Diction into Pathways and I’ve never had success. At first, because it has a focus on linguistics, I tried Scientific World. I was told it was too “creative”. Then I tried Creative Expression, but I was told that there was too much linguistics material in it. In sum, Pathways is an idiotic system.

***After the departmental curriculum committee mess with Sports Comm, I expected a turf fight at college-wide because our English Dept has a journalism option. They didn’t, though, mostly because their work is mostly written word, and we avoided that with the podcast assignments. 

****This almost happened with Sports Comm. One of our full timers went to our then coordinator saying that even though she had no background in sports, she should teach it because she wanted to teach all the courses we offer. Our coordinator said no, but he passed away a few years ago, and the person in charge now might not feel the same way. 

Midterm project

by Sean

I’m considering writing up a course proposal for a teaching practicum course for grad students in the Humanities and, maybe, the Social Sciences. My expertise doesn’t really extend much beyond those fields, so whatever I would have to say in other fields probably wouldn’t make much sense. 


From what I’ve seen, most of the pedagogy courses here are theory-based, which is understandable, but I think the utility is limited. I’ve started four pedagogy classes here (and finished only one), and what I’ve noticed is that the structure seems to be discussing theory for twelve weeks then spending the last three weeks coming up with some sort of project that can be used in a classroom. 

My issue with this is that assembling one project does not prepare someone for the classroom. If a prospective educator can’t write a decent syllabus or organize a class or develop a grading rubric, the project they’ve developed isn’t going to help much. 


I would structure the class with the following topics:

  1. Writing a syllabus
  2. Choosing appropriate texts for the class
  3. Setting up assignments
  4. Setting up grading rubrics
  5. Office hours and helping students
  6. Interacting with institutional policies
  7. Tech resources available. 


The biggest issue would be finding courses for the students to teach as a practicum. When I took a practicum class at the University of Illinois, everyone in the class taught a free course for the spouses of international graduate students. 

This worked there because many international students lived on or close to campus and, especially the incoming graduate students, their spouses still couldn’t work yet, or could only work on campus, so they had the time. 

I’m nor sure that there is an equivalent population at the Grad Center, and even if there was, that practicum worked for those of us entering the field of Teaching ESL. A practicum for those in the Humanities in general would be difficult to manage. 

I know that, at one point years ago, the GC had funding to do this sort of thing where grad students got classes on various campuses, but planning a course on the possibility of a teaching slot is an issue. 

One possible way to handle it is to set up the opening assignment as “You’re teaching a course in your field at a community college”, which means an intro level or second year course, and go from there. 

Adventures in GPT

by Sean

Question one: Explain centum and satem in Indo-European linguistics

Response: In Indo-European linguistics, “centum” and “satem” refer to two major branches of the Indo-European languages, based on how the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language split in terms of the treatment of the palatal stops (sounds like “k” and “g” pronounced with the middle part of the tongue raised towards the hard palate).

The term “centum” comes from the Latin word for “hundred,” reflecting the fact that the languages in this branch evolved to pronounce the palatal stops as velar stops (pronounced at the back of the mouth), which is why the word for “hundred” in these languages typically begins with a /k/ sound. The centum branch includes the Germanic, Celtic, Italic, Hellenic (Greek), and some other languages.

The term “satem” comes from the Old Iranian word for “one hundred,” reflecting the fact that the languages in this branch evolved to pronounce the palatal stops as sibilants (sounds like “s” and “sh”), which is why the word for “one hundred” in these languages typically begins with an /s/ sound. The satem branch includes the Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian, and some other languages.

It is believed that the centum-satem division reflects an early geographic split within the PIE-speaking community. The centum speakers were located west of the satem speakers and were likely in contact with non-Indo-European-speaking peoples who influenced the evolution of their language. Meanwhile, the satem speakers were located east of the centum speakers and were more isolated from such influences.

Today, the centum-satem division is mainly of historical and linguistic interest, as most of the modern Indo-European languages belong to the centum branch. However, the distinction is still relevant for understanding the evolution of these languages and their relationships to one another.


Analysis: This is a basic analysis and, in the broad strokes okay, except the East/West divide isn’t accurate. Hittite, a centum language, was spoken in what is now Turkiye, a region that should be in the “satem” area. Further, the Tocharian languages, which were spoken in Western China, and therefore the easternmost IE languages are also centum languages. Also, Armenian and Albanian, IE languages that occupy regions between the centum languages and satem languages, show some features of both.

Question 2: Is the Great Hunger in Ireland a genocide?

Response: The Great Hunger, also known as the Irish Potato Famine, was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland from 1845 to 1852, during which the population of Ireland decreased by approximately 25%.

While the famine was primarily caused by a potato blight, which destroyed the potato crop that was the main source of food for many Irish people, the severity of the famine was exacerbated by a number of political and economic factors, including British colonial policies that limited Irish land ownership and forced Irish farmers to rely heavily on potatoes.

There is ongoing debate among scholars and historians about whether the Great Hunger in Ireland should be considered a genocide. Some argue that the policies of the British government, which continued to export food from Ireland during the famine while many Irish people were starving, constituted a deliberate effort to destroy the Irish population. Others argue that while the British government’s policies were certainly harmful and contributed to the severity of the famine, they did not constitute a deliberate attempt to exterminate the Irish people.

Ultimately, the question of whether the Great Hunger in Ireland was a genocide is a complex and contested issue, and opinions on the matter vary depending on one’s perspective and interpretation of historical events.


Analysis: This is a fairly accurate basic description of the discussion going on over the Great Hunger. 

Publishers’ Platforms

by Sean

Publishers have been providing online platforms with their textbooks for a while now. I’ll be honest: I’ve never really been impressed. Granted, I usually teach classes like Voice and Diction, classes that don’t run many sections, so publishers don’t create as many materials for that class as they do for Public Speaking, a class runs many sections in just about about every institute of higher learning.

Also, since I don’t use these platforms, I’ve never had direct access to them. I’ve only seen them when the publishers introduce them to the area or when I’ve tried to help colleagues.

Most of these platforms allow students to upload recordings of their speeches on their platforms. However, when we asked the publishers’ representatives who controlled access to those speeches. We never got a straight answer. This set off alarms for me and a few of my colleagues. 

However, one of the things they promoted was a speech bank. Several of us figured that the various publishers used these uploaded speeches to populate their speech banks. So, we resisted uploading speeches on the publisher platforms. 

Now, before the pandemic, this wasn’t too much of an issue. Most of our Public Speaking classes were either face-to-face or hybrid. Yes, we would run one or two fully online sections, but, honestly, those instructors were tech-savvy, so they didn’t need my help. I don’t know if they used the publishers platform to upload student speeches or not. 

Once the pandemic hit, the situation changed, but I still wasn’t all that involved in the publishers’ platforms. I was more involved in helping our instructors set up their zoom meetings and Blackboard accounts.  However, I do know that many instructors did have students upload their speeches onto the platform we were using. It was just the simplest thing to do. 

Still, whenever I was asked, I told them not to upload those speeches onto the platform, to maybe set up a locked anonymous youtube channel. This may not have been the BEST solution, but it was the best I could think of. 

Now, most of our classes are face-to-face or hybrid again (seriously, at least in Communication Studies, students seem to prefer those types of classes to strictly online courses), this isn’t as much of a concern, but I honestly think that, long term, we should build our own platform and materials. I hesitate to mention this to the powers-that-be because I would have to do most of the work, and our faculty is allergic to change so I wouldn’t get much by way of cooperation.