Wednesday, August 08, 2007

074 in the rearview mirror

A student deleted the entire eap2 weblog, in the heat of battle, and in the heat of the dog-days of early August. Did it accidentally, in the process of deleting an extra post. Wiped out a couple of years of work, the most immediate problem being the term's fluency exercises, and folk tales including the winning two. Much of these may be recoverable, but may not. Students are already scattering their separate ways; a half dozen have already shot off for Saudi with the end of the TOEFL early today.

What remains? The papers themselves; most of the research papers are still accessible from their names on the templates of the new weblog. An archived version of the weblog can be accessed through the wayback machine; also, many of old classes' work had been downloaded into CESL Todays (this is our backup system). Some students had put their folk tales on thier own weblogs. My grade book remains, with its careful marks of what had been done and what had been mastered, all based on what had been printed off of them, and handed in. So I didn't lose too much in the way of information about what they could write or do.

I have used this weblog to brag professionally about portfolios, abstracts, etc., though, so it is a significant loss. I think it's a loss to all students who came through the class in years past (it covered maybe two or three, including some excellent classes that covered WalMart and other issues)...students who'd like to find a link to their own weblog, if nothing else. That EAP2 weblog had active links to maybe 70 students' weblogs from terms of the last several years. I'll try to get these back also. This could be painfully slow.

Is there any way to just recover the entire thing? Blogger is now quite obtuse; it's difficult to ask a real person a simple question. I'm sure that, on some level, the data exists in some mound of server-generated babble at the warehouse of the great Blogger-server. Somone once dug out our entire website (which had been deleted in a similar accident), from the bottom of SIU's server-logs. It's in there somewhere. I'm sure they don't want to go looking for it, though. I'm sure that if they did, they would then have to go looking for all kinds of other things that they don't want to have to do.

So, I don't hold out much hope. But I'm not angry either. These things happen- to everyone. Our students do have the passwords & logons to our entire system...incredible, huh? Sometimes it takes something like this to remind us of that. To my knowledge, they have never done anything like this on purpose, which is incredible, I guess.

Some students are no doubt glad that their homework won't turn up next time they google themselves. But hey, I've invited anyone to delete their own work, any time, once the grading is finished. It is now finished. Good luck in SIU, EAP2WW!

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