Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Problems Only Somewhat of My Own Making

  1. The students in the Calculus Circus are so needy. So far this semester has being going on for one week. I have received 72 emails from the students. This would be roughly equivalent to receiving nine emails from a 30-student class in a week. I'm going to have extra office hours Thursday and Friday, I think, so that they can have a chance to come by and tell me what's on their minds. Those who are having tech problems will have to bring their laptops.

  2. Wrote 2000 words of my book this morning. Then felt unmotivated for the rest of the day. Instead of working on class prep for tomorrow I have been playing Scrabble online. No one has ever accused me of having a nice rack. This also goes for online Scrabble. I played aerie, as river would have left me with a crappy leave.

  3. I have five TAs for the Calculus Circus. They are in charge of the quizzes, including recording the quiz scores. I'm looking for a grade recording system that will allow for minimum hassles and maximum ease in sharing grades. I use MS Excel for all my grades for all my courses, and I already have functions written that do what I want. All of the computers in the TA offices have MS Excel installed on them. So I made Excel spreadsheets for each TA with the class roster and places for them to enter the raw scores. I asked them to record the scores in the spreadsheet and email it to me, at which point I would copy-paste the raw scores into my massive number-crunching spreadsheet. One of my TAs asked if we could instead do the spreadsheets in Numbers. I suspect that none of the other four TAs has access to numbers. And my massive Excel spreadsheet has been known to make the Numbers do the whole "unexpectedly quit" routine. So, no. I believe that another TA wants to record the scores in Blackboard. Fine. Just send me a spreadsheet. As an .xls. Or tab-delimited. Heck, comma delimited but in my format so that I can copy-paste.

  4. I've set up an appointment with my independent study student tomorrow. I have no clue what we're going to talk about. I'm thinking of sending him to the campus museum to see if they have anything cool that I could take my class to go see on a field trip.

  5. Students are starting to tell me that the bookstore sold out of clickers. Not entirely sympathetic, as I've been warning them about this since before classes started.

  6. I'm finding myself being dragged into a conversation that I'm not supposed to be having. And yet, I am too stupid to extricate myself.