Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Semester That Refuses to End

  1. Just got two copies of the email from IT about upcoming changes. Since I am coded as both "student" and "faculty" I get both versions. Fun new changes. Faculty email quotas are being upgraded from 250MB to 1GB with the option to request a second 1GB. Student email quotas are being upgraded from 100MB to 10GB with the option to have an additional 25GB. For realz.

  2. Even though I'm pretty sure that I will have zero time in the fall to take a class, I signed up for one anyway. It should not be a difficult class, as it is Part 2 of the intro graduate sequence in statistics. When you sign up for "Part 2" of a two-course introductory sequence for the fall semester, you are probably not part of the ideal population for the course.

  3. Did day 2 of my anti-banking lesson on financial math to my gen-ed students. Very rarely does a situation come up in a math class where the instructor can inject personal views into the material. With this unit, it comes naturally to me. I tell my students about how evil the banks are. I know that some of the things that happen in financial transactions are done out of ignorance and not out of malice. But if my students view the banks with skepticism, then I have done something. One of my students used to be a mortgage broker, so I hope that she was not too offended. However, it's hard to argue with the numbers about the huge amounts of profit that the banks make off of 30 year mortgages. For most of the examples we did, the 30 year mortgage ended up costing an additional $100,000 or more over the life of the loan.

  4. When I noted that today was the last day of class, one of my calculus students cheered. I told them that it was also my last day of calculus and that I would not be teaching calculus in the fall. Did not say to them, "Or possibly ever again."

  5. We had the last calculus midterm on Wednesday, April 21. Today Stu emails me: "I accidentally missed this past midterm because I was stressing about getting everything done before classes end and I somehow managed to think Wednesday was Thursday and spent the day working on a big project. I realize this is completely my fault and rather foolish, but I was wondering if there was any possible way I might be able to make it up? If not, is it still possible to make a decent grade in this class?"

  6. Today I taught my calculus students how to calculate the score they need on the final in order to get the grade they want in the course. This is playing with fire, as it is likely to cause trouble. You know that some D student is going to calculate that they need a 12% on the final go get their grade up to an A and then blame me when things don't go as planned.