27 September 2020

High-intensity teaching prep

We always knew teaching would start. We know exactly when! But you always end up running out of time in the end. So the last weeks were very hectic. Getting the module websites ready, recording lectures, preparing for activities that can be done during the live sessions, etc etc etc. It's OK if you have to work hard at it, as long as it's ready when it needs to be! But I ended up doing routine days of getting up, having breakfast, going to work, having lunch, working, running, having dinner, working, and going to sleep. Repeat. It's not ideal but has to be done sometimes! 

The Dissertation module had been running for a while, but the website wasn’t finished yet. I had to make a schedule of what the students were expected to do from week to week. And there was a bit of an issue with the new software: could 150 students track their progress on one module website? The software company said yes but trying it out indicated no. So in the end I had to find a different solution. We ended up in the hands of Microsoft! At least their software is a bit more tried and tested. 

The our module on applied marine geology went live! And then the glaciology module too. There is still a lot of material to produce, record and upload, but we can do that along the way. I think the first milestone to reach is 'reading week', a week with no teaching! It's not a week off; we have lots of meetings, and more preparation work of course. But it will be a week in which making materials will go faster than using it! It's the first week of November. By then we'll have come through the first full week of teaching! 

Christmas will be the big break, of course. The end of the first semester. But it won't be much of a break. We will have to prepare for the second semester! but one thing helps: by then we'll be hacks at this blended learning thing. And then reaching the summer will be the real break! And that's a fair while away. But something tells me time will be flying the coming months... 

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