September 21, 2015

Too many cooks, and not enough indians (JH, FaceBook, 15 08 13)

Semester 1, Day 1. Affixed  to my office door — a lovely surprise — one of Ben Partridge’s (a current MA Fine Art finalist) polargraph drawings of Mr Croft and I (looking wizened and grizzly, as always):

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9.00 am. In deep. The MA Fine Art show has been completed. The MA Art Historians have until Friday to submit their dissertations. The first tutorial of the day was to that end — a review of final drafts, a dose of encouragement and optimism, and a listening ear:

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9.45 am. A pastoral telephone call with an intending student who’s going through life’s mill. ‘Count your blessings, John!’ 10.10 am. The first-year newbies begin to arrive. The School resonates once more. 10.20 am. Mad! Mad! Mad! You think you’re ahead in the race, but then realise that all the runners behind are in fact two laps ahead of you. Then … software (which has behaved perfectly up until now) played up after being either updated or reinstalled. Once, my entire hard drive shattered irrecoverably the day before the new academic year began. What is it about this season that makes electronic equipment protest so?

I sent advice to my Abstraction tutees that expressed the preferred protocol for attendance at all my lectures:

Because this is a new module, the Blackboard content will be built week by week. By the beginning of the teaching semester (next Monday), the examination requirements will be visible. Each lecture folder will contain the PowerPoint and a podcast of that lecture. Some students find it helpful to take notes from these recordings rather than during the lecture. Personally, I prefer students to attend with their eyes and ears — ‘in the moment’ — rather than feverishly scribble or type. Of course, take notes of ideas (your ideas) that come to you while listening and viewing; but don’t feel that you have to make a transcript of what I’m saying.

12.10 pm. Off for a haircut. ‘A tidy mop makes for a tidy mind’.

1.00 pm. Lunch. 1.40 pm. A reference writ, I caught up on the FaceBook communities related to the modules that I co-ordinate and teach. A Postgraduate Studies page is the latest addition to the portfolio:

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Since the School has had a paint job done inside and out recently, I thought that a spruce up of the School’s the FaceBook and Twitter artwork, too, was in order … over a cup of tea.

4.00 pm. Back to module boot up admin. My event poster arrived, courtesy of Mr Holland’s able hand and mouse:

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6.30 pm. One of my two computer screens went dead. What’s happening? 7.00 am. Off to School and to the Freshers’ Welcome Party. Whether you’re 18+ or 50+, the prospect of beginning university is daunting and exhilarating in equal measure. We had a good turn out of earnest, apprehensive, but otherwise self-assured students, who quickly adapted to the spirit of the evening. Students today are better able to deal with new social situations than was I at their age:

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9.10 pm. Homeward, in the drizzle:

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