March 18, 2005

Student Jizz(*)

Students are not knocking on my office door quite so much nowadays. (Good.) I must have frightened them off. (Not so good.)

Next up: how to muffle the lesser-spotted student who thinks we're all psychic?

Student: Do you know when, um, is it Edgar Wilson would be available?

Lecturer:Firstly, it's Edgar Williams, not Wilson. Secondly, do you think I have his diary emblazoned on my memory? How should I know what his schedule is like and when he'd be available?!

(Lecturer stomps off making neck-wringing gestures out of sight of student, much to amusement of fellow lecturer who overheard the exchange.)


March 08, 2005

Yes Virginia, lectures are there for a purpose...

One student has spent several weeks deliberately missing the lectures and going only to the computer lab sessions (the lab session was immediately after lectures and I refuse to believe the alarm clock kept failing several weeks in a row, so it must have been deliberate). Once at the practical sessions, this student has been repeatedly asking us practical tutors to explain concepts which were explained at length in the lecture. Replies have been initially along the lines of "Well, if you'd been to the lecture, you'd have had that explained to you in detail", followed by internal deliberation about how much time to devote (or not) to answering the student's question further, given how many other students who did go to the lecture also have queries in the computer lab session. Is it reasonable that a student deliberately pass up the opportunity to hear an explanation of a concept, only to demand extra time afterwards for a repeat opportunity, at the expense of other students? I think not.

Anyway, said student has started going to lectures. At last. A small victory. As for the 25% of students who are not turning up for either lectures or lab sessions(*), though....

(*) Before you wonder, no they are not vile/boring/unhelpful lectures or lab sessions; students who have been to them rate them highly.

March 07, 2005

The Answer Game

One of my students learning programming is very persistent at asking questions. This is developing into a well-honed game where the student tries to get me to answer the question, and I try to get the student to go and look in the place where the answer to that specific question exists, rather than telling the student the answer. The student wants the answer; I want the student to get used to looking information up in suitable (easily-accessible) places. Besides which, a verbal delivery of these sorts of answers is going to be a lot less successful when precise syntax is involved, so I'm not being mean to the student by directing him to the answer, I'm actually being maximally helpful.

Today's game, when starting a practical session, took just three rounds:

"How can I convert an integer to a string?"
"There's an exercise in this practical worksheet which addresses precisely that."
(five minutes later)
"How can I convert an integer to a string?"
"See Exercise 4."
"But- "
Lecturer (pointing directly to the precise paragraph in Exercise 4 that tells how to convert an integer to a string):

Student smiles and starts to read. Acknowledgement of defeat; game over.

March 03, 2005

Iron J

One of the students in my practical class last week had on an unironed shirt. Nothing so unusual about that of course, even I sometimes have an unironed shirt on, when my pile of no-need-to-iron shirts runs out. No, the thing that was puzzling was that it was a really really unironed shirt. The creases were amazing, all radiating out from the centre neck area at the back of the shirt. So - was it meant to be like that?

This week, he was back, with the same creased shirt (or an identical copy). I take it that it is meant to be creased. I am obviously far out of touch with current fashion and thus suitably qualified in this respect as an academic.