It’s always a good feeling to accomplish things on your to-do list, and fixing up our degrees has been something people have been hounding us for for a long time. Well, good news sports fans! It’s done! Your Shadow Academy Staff has been hard at work this month with various projects that I’m happy to report on. Some, like the degree audit, are done; others are nearing completion. So, without further rambling on my part… on to the report!
I try to be as approachable to our members as possible anytime they have questions, and I hope I’m successful. I regularly receive questions via Telegram (@farrinx) or via email and I always try to give a full and complete answer with our/my rationale as appropriate. Over my tenure as HM, there are some questions and issues I regularly am asked, so I thought I’d take a moment to answer them here.
Do inactive courses count against my overall course grade average? The Shadow Academy Society requires certain average grades to unlock ranks, and so it’s not uncommon for people trying to earn those ranks to retake courses. If a course is inactive, it can’t be retaken - which can be frustrating. I’m happy to say that, as confirmed by the code wizard James, inactive courses are not included in the calculations for your average grade.
Since you changed (blank), does that mean I have to re-do it/I’ll lose it? As a matter of policy, and this applies not just to the SA, if you have earned something the only way you can lose it is via CoJ action or if it was done in error (i.e. someone accidently awarded a bunch of GLS’s... ). So, for instance, if you’ve completed a course or earned a degree and we change it later you will not have to redo it. There are some exceptions to this depending on how we deploy the changes, however. Whenever we’re making changes to a course, if the content is significantly different (i.e. more than just some corrections) we’ll sometimes retire the old course and create a new one. You still won’t lose credit for having completed the old course, but you’ll also have the opportunity to take the new course if you’d like.
Are you hiring? I absolutely love when people ask me if I/the SA needs help. That shows a drive that is impressive. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, my staff covers everything pretty sufficiently and my staff turnover isn’t super high (although you might want to read on in this report…). The best way to help the SA, then? Submit new course ideas and especially tell us if something is wrong.
I’ve got this awesome idea for a new course! Cool! Send it to Laren and I. Or, even better, work up an outline of a potential course for it. Now, I can’t guarantee it’ll be implemented for various reasons, but you never know. :)
It’s done! Laren and I have looked at where our degrees currently sit and we kicked around some changes. I solicited feedback from the Dark Council and Summit and the ever-incredible James deployed the changes yesterday. Here is what’s changed:
Dark Savant - History and Lore still requires the Mavens it did previously (Galactic History and Lore) as well as the DB History courses. It also now requires Astronomy, Planets and Moons, and Regions of the Galaxy. It no longer requires the Legends History courses.
Dark Savant - Legends is a new degree that requires the Legends and Historical Legends Mavens as well as Legends Galactic Histories 106, 107, and 108.
Dark Sage - History and Lore is a new degree that requires the Dark Savant History and Lore as well as the new Dark Savant Legends.
Dark Maven - Leadership has the same time-in-leadership requirement it did previously, though the way to earn the requirement has been altered. Time as CON or PCON and QUA or AED both stack; if I’m an AED for 111 days and get promoted to QUA, the next day will count as 112. Additionally, there is no longer a minimum time for this position to count toward your total. Bubba previously had set this up for good reasons, but I’m confident enough in our MAA and Clan Summits to appoint people to positions who haven’t served for a bunch of one week stints. :P
Dark Savant - Leadership and Communication has had CoJ I and IRC 301 removed as requirements. In their place, the two Debate courses are now requirements. The same changes to the position requirement as discussed on the Leadership Maven apply here.
Dark Sage - Law has had the Debate and CoJ II courses removed. Eventually, Jac and I will bring our teams together to create replacement CoJ courses and we’ll adjust this degree more when that happens, but for right now Jac and I both feel the requirements are steep enough to allow this Sage to exist as it stands.
My friend and former Praetor, Marcus, has had to step down from his position as Professor over the far-reaching Department of Leadership, Law, and Communication. As such, I’ll be looking for someone to take on this position. Interested parties should email an application to Laren and I no later than one week from now, 10/7. You should let us know areas in which you think this department can be improved. Position requirements are as follows:
Alara Deathbane asked: “what would you recommend to an aspiring professor or course writer?”
Wally asked: “Do you think the SA is better served as a learning tool than a contest system? Should exams be focused on who can get the best score, or who can retain the most information and learn from the exam? Is there room for both philosophies?”
Wally also asked: “Who is your favorite DC-Professor… not named Drac? Or Vyr.”
Kelly asked: “What, out of the things you’ve done so far as Headmaster, are you most proud of?”
Shadow Academy Staff are currently engaged in the following projects:
Leadership Proposal Update - SA Staff: This is the only course pending review and audit from last month’s completion of the Leadership Dept. changes. We are still working to determine its fate (rewrite? removal?). Estimated completion: TBD
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. The first phase of this is done, and the graphical elements will begin shortly. Reworking degrees took precedence over this, but it should completed soon. Estimated completion: end of 10/2017
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. So we fixed them. Estimated completion: DONE!
Writing Department Update - SA and Voice Staffs: Wally Q. Wallerson, his staff, and my staff are combining our considerable talents/nerddoms to overhaul the Writing Department. The goal is to make it an invaluable resource for all who engage in any sort of writing activity in the DB. A Fiction Studies primer is nearing release, while most others will need to wait post-GJW. Estimated completion: some soon, others not :)
|Name||# of Exams||# of ACs|
|Acolyte Drae'lath Rahath||73||24|
|Commander Gaius Julius Caesar||47||45|
|Commander Dek Ironius II||32||43|
|Neophyte Zeline Nemesis||31||23|
|Knight James Malum||26||58|
Note: these numbers cover the period from 9/1/17 to 9/30/17 and count both initial attempts and retakes.
The Shadow Academy is an amazing resource, created and administrated by some imperfect human beings who strive for perfection. 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. With cookies. And an SA team thankful for pointing it out. And a Headmaster thankful to scold his staff. I kid, he gives us cookies, too.
In Darkness -
Headmaster of the Shadow Academy
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