“Master Semester” to be Renamed “Starter Shells”

Starting Monday, December 14th, in agreement with Dr. Baker and the Deans, we will be renaming the “Master Semester” in D2L to “Starter Shells”. The functionality of the shells will be identical only with a different name.

A few years ago, I brought this possibility up to faculty and leadership. The reason was, the word “Master” implied an authority that simply wasn’t present in the college’s usage of the “Master Semester”. Also, at the time, there was a movement to see if changes made to a Master Semester course could be pushed to the copies. Technologically, this isn’t possible in D2L, so I proposed renaming it to “Starter Shells”. The feedback I got at the time from both faculty and leadership was overwhelmingly against the change. The confusion of the change was not worth the benefit of the name change.

Fast forward to 2020 and our whole world has changed. With the increased focus on the words we use and their histories, a number of faculty pushed me to bring the name “Master Semester” back up as something that should be changed. (One definition of the word “master” is “a man who has people working for him, especially servants or slaves.” That’s really not in line with a group of D2L course shells used to load educational materials. My eLearning colleagues and I agreed it was worth bringing to the attention of leadership. Today, we got official word that the Deans and Dr. Baker approved of the name change from “Master Semester” to “Starter Shells”.

The challenge now is the term “Master Semester” is well known and understood here at PPCC. Changing it to “Starter Shells” is going to take us (me included!) some time to get used to. We are going to start today by giving faculty/instructors the option of how they want their shell named. I know one today was named with “Master Course/Starter Shell” in the name. Beginning on December 14th though, we will no longer use the term “Master” in any new course title or code. On December 14th, I’ll also be changing the official name of the semester in D2L to “Starter Shells”.

Over the SP21 semester and beyond, we will work to update the term any where it’s found. This will take some time, patience and grace. After almost 20 years, I know it’s likely I will personally say and/or type the “Master Semester” phrase. However, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s a good time for a new start and the “Starter Shells” will be a good start.

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