Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I Learned About My Lecture Hall

Very, very, very exciting news. For the past three semesters, I've taught the Calculus Circus various chemistry lecture halls. This time I'm teaching in a general-purpose lecture hall in a building that holds administrative offices, conference rooms, and lecture halls -- including the massive public event lecture hall with the very fancy pipe organ.

Now, I don't get to teach in the room with the pipe organ, seating for 900 people, three projectors, a cable TV hookup, and a 20' screen. However, yesterday when I was patrolling my small lecture hall* during the calculus exam, I realized that my lecture hall has an amazing feature that is probably related to it being in a building that hosts non-academic gatherings. (A feature that was, sadly, missing from the chemistry lecture halls.)

Yes, that's right! Theater-style numbering of each seat! Any seat in the room can be uniquely identified by section, row letter, and seat number! For the rest of the regular exams, I'm going to have a place on the cover sheet for the students to fill in where they're sitting. I may even use assigned seating on the final.**

*Seating for 265 -- love it when the room capacity is very similar to the class size, as it gives a sense that you need to get there early to get a good seat.

**I'm thinking that for the final I'm going to get a sheet of labels and print off labels with each student's name, section number, student ID number, and assigned seat for the final. I'll have the TAs give these out during recitation section (and I'll have a full set of spares), and these will function like "tickets" to the exam. Then the students will stick their sticker on the place where their name goes on the exam. I think I'm also going to put placebo barcodes on the stickers just to make it look more official.