Another thing that happens in the summer in most colleges and universities is training with new technologies, pedagogies and subjects. Some faculty and staff go elsewhere for one or two week programs, and some programs happen at home.
Today I’m at a WordPress Camp being run by instructional technologists from Swarthmore and Trinity. I’m really pleased by the turn-out: over twenty faculty and staff from Swarthmore and Haverford are here, and there’s a wide range of project ideas and questions. There’s the somewhat inevitable technical glitch at the moment (seems to be a consequence of lots of people trying to work in the same server space simultaneously) but I’m sure that’ll be ironed out shortly.
This is a big part of academic life, and it often goes unremarked upon simply because it’s so built into the culture of scholarship and teaching. The cranky professor who refuses to learn new technologies or approaches is a favorite media trope but in many academic communities, that person is the exception rather than the rule. What’s more typical is the constant rethinking and adjustment that workshops, seminars and camps support.