I spent a lot of the past two days dithering on whether to keep a day of content in my AI course or to replace it with a “personal working day” to give the students space and time to work on their research projects before we have our one-on-one conferences. I’m sure any of you reading this are yelling at me “personal working day, not more content!”. Which is obviously the right answer. But the lost week of class and the much slower pace once we returned as I let students get accustomed to the new format definitely has me making some hard choices. I’m comfortable with what we’ll have ended up covering, but I also think I’ve reached the point that some of what I’ve cut I’ll want to put back when I teach the course again in a normal length semester. This was my first semester teaching this course and I definitely have learned some things about what works and what doesn’t, but there are some things I’ll still have to be working out on round two of the course next spring.
I’ve also worked a required one-on-one meeting with me into both of my course projects and am making space for that in the schedule. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing but so far not done in my courses, as compared to making a point of spending more evenings in the labs once we get to the end of the semester. But this seemed like the right time to try it out and if it goes well, I’ll look at whether I want to retain it in regular offerings of the courses as well.
I’ve yet to figure out the pattern between which students have a better connection talking to me through Teams and which have a better connection through Zoom. Currently, I’m defaulting to Teams with Zoom as an alternative I offer for those who prefer it. If I were teaching security this semester, that decision would probably feed a whole week of class discussion.
I was talking to a colleague today and asking how they were doing. They replied that they were okay but behind where they want to be. I observed that it’s mid-April, and we’d probably all be behind where we wanted to be at the best of times. They found that a surprisingly reassuring thought.