06 February 2019

Module change proposed

I like Palaeoceanography! It's great. But the students tend to be a bit critical. James taught a module that really went into the nitty gritty of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. But then he left and took pretty much the entire lab with him. And that made it a bit incongruous to teach that module to that level. And difficult too; part of it was a practical, but I'm the only one who can teach it. I have to rely on assistance from people who have never worked with forams. And that's a bit stressy, for both me, those assisting and the students. So when we were pondering modules it was suggested we change it. Kick out some of the more detailed micropalaeontology, and bring in some applied stuff. And Jaco would do the applied stuff. Or at least, he had the ideas and would be heavily involved in sorting it.

Designing the module it was certainly going to be a bit rushed. Everything is! But we had to do it. The deadline for suggesting significant module changes is the end of January. And before Christmas I was marking like mad. And the hiccup in my professional relationship with Jaco around that time didn't help. And over Christmas I was still Marking and Jaco was away. Then the new year started. Jaco had a deadline for a research proposal so he wanted to do the module design in the last two weeks. But these are the first weeks of term! And then it all kicks off and you're running around like a mad person. So we ended up only sitting together on the Tuesday of the last week we had.

We thought a bit about the module content and assessment, and made some notes. We had to fill out a form, and an online module description. The form was easily done, and we divided the form among ourselves. Jaco would fill out the first half and I the rest. And the stuff I would have to do relied on what he did so he had to go first. And I was away in the afternoon so most I did the next day. But I saw I had quite something to comment on in his contribution so I ended up rewriting the entire form. And only then did I notice it had to be signed bu the Head of School. Oops. That's what you get if you rush things! You miss such details. I sent the forms to him and hoped for the best. And then there was a glitch! He couldn't read the documents. He would have to have a look the next day. The day of the deadline. Oh dear. And he wondered if our director of teaching and learning (Dei) knew about this. Well, eh, sort of.

That next day Dei and I had a chat. He told me of some changes I had to make (or rather, additions) and said we should not change the module; just have a new one vetted, and ask the students if they were happy changing the one for the other. If there were no objections we could do it that way. If there were, we would have to teach the old module. But I can do it for another year. You can implement minor changes without asking anyone about it! I should be able to make the practical a bit more manageable. And implement other changes that make the students happier. Although that's sometimes harder than you think; the previous year I had turned the individual presentations into group presentations, and that went well and positive feedback was given, but this year the students thought it sucked. Difficult to anticipate that!

Anyway. The module has been proposed! Now we have to wait and see what the higher authorities think of it. But that's one source of stress now dormant for a while! And we'll see what I'll be teaching in the next academic year!

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