Friday, August 28, 2009

First week of class at AUS

Sharjah, 29 Aug 2009
It's Friday, the start of our weekend here in the UAE. The first week of class started with Ramadan which runs through to September 17. That means we will have to take into consideration how fasting affects our students. I'm teaching four courses -- two sections of T V production and performance, and one section each of field reporting with camcorders, and the multimedia course in which students will manage the e-media website we created last year. I'm really fortunate that my tech assistant Herman Coutinho from Mumbai is back from his vacation. We couldn't do the website or the TV studio course and field reporting without him. My students will be producing the 1/2 hour MCM Fortnightly News newscast and will manage the enewsmcm.com website, both planning for distribution on the internet. I'll start the TV production class with lessons on editing video with iMovie because the TV studio is in the process of being dehumidified after a summer of being shutdown. Our TV studio is located in the Architecture building across the quad from our A&S NAB building and was shut down because Architecture was under rennovation.

This week was the week of rolling brownouts in Sharjah. AUS was hit several times. My flat's electricity went out only once, on Wednesday from 4:30 to 11:30 p.m. It was warm with temps at 103 degrees, but because our flats are made of thick concrete and tiled floors, it remained sufficiently cool-warm. I went to bed early because I had no access to my computer or TV. The brownouts were only in selected parts of Sharjah. The University of Sharjah next door was not affected.

Some students are not showing up for class because there was a rumor (unfounded) that the dorm had swine flu. I heard some students actually have returned home. Several profs have suggested we teach online from our flats for the next two weeks. That's not possible for my classes because we need to use the mac lab. The faculty with young kids seem to be the most concerned.

I'm hoping to go to Sharafs tomorrow. It's our big box store, like Best Buy, that opened up in June in downtown Sharjah. Other news here is that the Sharaj Coop supermarket, just 5 minutes from AUS, is building a mall extension. New villas have gone up all along the route to Sharjah Coop. It really is a SimCity in progress here.

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