Headmaster's Report #10: Things, They Are A'Changing
Last report I mentioned how I was excited to begin the reorganization of the Shadow Academy; this month, I’m excited to report how well it’s coming along. Thanks to the awesomeness of our resident coding ninja, James the Kickass, we’ve already implemented the first stage of the changes we’ve planned for the Shadow Academy and are working on the backend for the second phase. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself?
The Reorg - It’s Upon Us!
Within hours of getting approval from the GM/DGM for our reorg proposal, James had much of the backend changes up and running. As I prepped the backend changes, I also moved the courses into the new groupings that the Praetor Formerly Known as Marcus and I had agreed upon. We announced those early last month, but in case you missed them all of our courses are now organized into the following departments:
- Dark Brotherhood Fundamentals, graded by our Supreme Overlord dbb0t
- Department of Leadership, Law, and Communication, graded by Kelly Mendes (aided on the Comms courses by Reiyden Rosenau)
- Department of Lore Studies, graded by Sang
- Department of Gaming & Combat, graded by the FIST and his Staff
- Department of Writing, graded by the VOICE and his Staff (and currently undergoing a major overhaul)
- Department of Legends, graded by Daniel Stephens.
I’ve made our transition a bit more difficult by breaking Promotheus, the tool within the site that does a lot of our automated promotions and activity tracking. This has been fixed. Sorry about that guys - and especially sorry to James. :)
The next step in our reorg is to actually enable some of the background work we’ve been doing, things such as tagging (similar to how tags work on reports/news posts) and prereqs. Expect to see those things soon.
Gaming Course Update
As we unfortunately see the withering away of activity within SW:TOR, the FIST has asked me to evaluate whether or not we continue to need a specific Shadow Academy course covering TOR Basics. In my opinion, we do not. Because of this, we’ll be retiring TOR Basics on 3/20, so anyone wanting to take it needs to complete it before then.
Ask the HM!
All the cool kids these days are doing “Ask the ____” for their reports, so I figured I’d try one out for mine. Here’s what we’ve got:
Wally Q. Wallerson asked: “Are you feeling any better?”
- I am, thanks for asking Wally. In case some of you were wondering why you haven’t seen me much recently (SA Staff in particular), it’s because the past month have not only seen me constantly traveling for work but also with a rather annoying and persistant death rattle. I have overcome my panda flu and am back to 100%.
Saitou asked: “All the posh schools have glee clubs or such with singing and drinking. Does the SA have a drinking song? If not, there should be one.”
- As soon as Wally gets done being sad that I didn’t die from the panda flu and approves my competition, I think we’ll see the answer to that question. :)
Kah Manet asked: “Will there be a Legends Hall of courses?”
- There is already, but there’s not much to it… yet. That’ll change Soon (tm).
Turel asked: “Replacement for the IRC 301 requirement on the Leadership Savant?”
- It’s on the to-do list (see below in the projects list). What’ll it be? I honestly don’t know yet, but I’ll be talking with my staff and the rest of the DC to figure out how best to move forward soon on that.
Kordath asked: “Rollmaster even close to being considered for the leadership position requirements?”
- I’d love to see this happen, to be honest, but it’s not something that’s completely my call. RM is part of an ongoing discussion at the DC (+ CON) level, and it’ll ultimately fall to Sarin and Mav as to how we handle RM. Once I get my guidance, we can make any necessary changes.
Shadow Academy Staff are currently engaged in the following projects:
SW History Department Rewrite - Lexic: Because of the evil Darth Mickey, my beloved Galactic History courses aren't fully canon anymore. The courses are being pared down (almost in half) and will be added to the Legends Department. This is being wrapped up after a delay (we were celebrating the end of the audit, leave us alone). Estimated completion: Soon (tm)
DJB History I & II Update/Rewrite - Alishu: Alishu has completed first drafts of both courses and they've been sent to the DC for approval. The DC has a lot on its plate right now, but I think we'll see some movement on this soon to get these courses released for all to enjoy. Estimated completion: TBD
Operation Remodel - SA Staff: In an effort to streamline the organization of the Shadow Academy and make it easier to initially get to information and then to find similar information, the SA will see a fairly extensive reorganization. As discussed above, the first phase of the reorg has been completed and we’re moving onto the second phase. Estimated completion: end of 3/2017
Operation Prereq - SA Staff: In order to make a more focused new member experience, different options are going to be explored to create prerequisite courses before other courses open up to a member. The backend to assist with this has been completed, and we’ll be working with James over the next couple of weeks to finish this up. Estimated completion: end of 3/2017.
Operation Remodel (Degrees) - SA Staff: The reorganization, as well as the addition/removal of various courses, has left some of our degrees a bit outdated. Working with the rest of the DC as applicable, we’re going to take a thorough look at these and make changes where necessary. Estimated completion: 4/2017
- There are a couple of things in the earliest planning stages, but aren’t quite ready for prime time. Stay tuned for more.
Top Exam Takers
|Name||# of Exams||# of ACs|
|Battlelord Rasilvenaira Kaishera Nal'Kethar||40||53|
|Private Mears Hiorte||20||8|
|Savant Mune Cinteroph||17||12|
|Lieutenant Colonel Lithar Andaris||14||32|
Note: these numbers cover the period from 2/2/17 to 3/5/17.
The Shadow Academy covers tens if not hundreds of thousands of words, and those words were written by imperfect humans (GASP!). We try our best to catch and fix any and all errors before we release courses, but we're not always successful. Because of that, we will always need your help. If you spot an error, please report it to the SA Staff using this simple form; if it's a major enough error, or you spot enough, you'll be rewarded. At the very least, you'll get the thanks of a grateful HM... that's gotta count for something, right?
In Darkness -
Headmaster of the Shadow Academy