Last week, four out of the seven days I spent being sick and hanging around in my home. Being sick of course doesn’t prevent one from reading or writing email, although friday was a rather low point and the laptop was turned off as much as possible. However, students still emailed.

Wednesday was the introduction to the course I’m coordinating this semester, and not everything went as smooth as I hoped. First, a student emailed that she couldn’t find the literature in the handouts. Well, no, since the literature was hosted elsewhere on the internet. Location: specified in the syllabus, obviously. (Acutally, there were more emails in that vein, but an announcement on the intranet took care of that.)

Second, we recently received an email from our students (and it’s still unclear to me whether these are the bachelor or the master students) concerning mandatory attendance, grading exams and level of the lectures. All of it rather positive actually, since they mentioned they would like the staff to keep track of attendance, return grades within the specified time (in my alma mater, if grades weren’t returned on time everybody got a pass, period), and make sure lectures were tailored to the appropriate level. Well, huray, rejoiced I! Students care about education and show they care!

So I mentioned the letter in the introduction, but unfortunately several students took this to mean that the mandatory attendance in our course was because of this letter. Uhm, yeah… so not, giving that letter way too much credit. Of course, this has to be rectified, since it’s rather unfair for the student who sent of the letter to get this  kind of blame from collegea student.

These appear to be some of the side effects of me opening up my mouth in lectures without thinking through beforehand what I will or won’t say. Obviously, there’s still much to learn in that corner. But at least it didn’t deter me in showing up, or feeling quite good about being able to coordinate a course for the first time.

Learning point: carefully think through notions and consider consequences before opening mouth to say something to students!

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