29 September 2018

Term starts like a whirlwind

You know exactly when it'll hit! But it still hits hard. In the weeks before term starts you tend to be inundated with last-minute things to do. We had last minute dissertation students, there were MSc dissertations that needed marking, and the Welcome Week demanded attention. There were forms to fill in you didn't realise needed filling in, and a module fell out of the sky. That last thing was a bit weird. What turned out to have happened was that there was a 4th year module that I took over from my departing colleague a few years ago, which also came in a 3rd year version. That was optional for, I suppose, everybody, so I had only ever taught it to the 4th years. And now suddenly there were 7 people registered on the 3rd year version. And the 3rd years get the same lectures, but different assessment. You can't expect them to perform at the level of the 4th years! And as that module had theoretically existed for years, nobody had thought of that it would be new to me. So suddenly a colleague walked into my office saying we should sort these assessments. Excuse me, assessment of what? So then suddenly we had to sort that. I don't think the university likes it if modules are online with not much information in them. But well, this one fell out of the sky the week before term. That's what happens then!

And then term time itself hit. In the end I hadn't managed to prepare my lectures beforehand! I had to do that one by one just before I delivered them. Not ideal! But these I have done before, so I can. I do still change them; sometimes I think the narrative is not sufficiently clear, sometimes I cut out some things of which I decide it's a not quite necessary in an already busy lecture, sometimes I need to update them because new research has been published. That sort of stuff! Ad the lectures come thick and fast.

Another change was that, inspired by the Access Anglesey field trip, I now email all my students with dyslexia or anxiety or whatnot in advance to see if they need any further explanation or any adjustment beyond what has already been centrally sorted. It's good and it's been appreciated, but it takes quite some organising too!

The week went like the clappers. When I got an email from David about the ThursdayNight trip that would happen the next day I was a bit shocked. That meant it was already Wednesday! I had hardly noticed it. But well, better for time to fly than to drag on! Academic year 2018-19, here I am!

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