Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I'M DONE! Submitted grades for seven classes. Making the deadline really was not bad this semester, considering that's four more classes than I have ever taught, and the computer crash in March. Now I can focus on re-installing everything on that machine, testing DSL, upgrading Lotus Notes, being able to print from the network again. (It was really hard to finish up the grades without being able to print lists of students, the grading spreadsheets, etc. I hope I didn't make too many mistakes, the students are sure to email me if I have [or even if I have not]).

I plan to do some reflecting on the semester, too, some of it here. Some early thoughts, my day class definitely was impacted by my being spread thin this semester. Some of the students were out-of-control (socially) and I was too busy to make changes in my methods, on-the-fly, during the course.

Overall, students viewed the class very favorably, but I didn't think it was a very good experience. I think there were three students in the class who agreed, and who wound up with "B" when in a different environment they may have received B+ or higher, perhaps even A.

Five of the remaining six classes went really well, and a couple were excellent, in my opinion, sorry it's not humble. The sixth course wasn't a true course, it was an independent study that the undergraduate teaching assistants take to get three credits for being TA. I decided to change this to a one per week seminar next semester, since it went OK with minimal meetings, but I think there should be more TA discussions and accountability, and that would help to make the TAs more uniformly excellent. (Many of the TAs didn't like the idea, and some won't be returning next semester for that reason [others are graduating, or have other conflicts], but having new students is OK with me.)

I had my smallest online class this semester, and I really liked the size (16). It supported the idea that if there is to be group work, small groups (2 to 4 students) really work best. I may try out that size in my on campus classes too. This semester I had groups of 5-7, and that may have been another reason for the off-task socializing in class.

Anyway, speaking of accountability, the school budget votes were yesterday. My Castleton district's passed, no suprise or controversy there. In Samsonville, another no surprise, the budget went down to defeat by a huge margin. That is my taxation without representation district, but it looks like the community didn't need my vote to be heard! (Such fun to have time to comment on the paper's story.)

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