February 06, 2005

Oops I was too helpful

I like to try and be helpful to students, where possible.

As part of the administrative details one always has to go through at the beginning of a course, I thought I'd be helpful to the students and remind them where they had to go and which time for their computer lab sessions. Just being helpful, yes?

They liked that alright. What I hadn't realised in advance is that by putting under their noses when all the practical sessions were, not only did they get reminded of what time they were supposed to attend, but they also got to see where other sessions were happening at times that they preferred!

The result? All the students down for the lab session at the most unpopular time showed up at a more popular session, and poor old Gerard, the teaching assistant for the unpopular session, showed up after carefully preparing for the lab, only to find.... no students whatsoever. Ooops!

Still, I should look on the bright side. The teaching assistants for the popular sessions found computer labs full to bursting of students keen to do their lab work. That's a marked improvement on what we usually see in the first week of a course!


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