Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Getting ready for the semester 

I've been busy today getting stuff ready for the first day of class (tomorrow). I've got syllabi and the first assignment copied, turned in my office hours and syllabus at the department office and cleared up most of the old cans and bottles from my desk (I'll need to offload these to the car perhaps tomorrow so that I can take them to the recycling and get some cash).

One of my courses was cancelled for low enrollment, so I've instead had my hours in the tutoring center upped. A bit of math shows that teaching two classes would have given me a total of ten hours scheduled per week. I currently have 14 hours scheduled. That carries the implication that the second section would have required four hours per week of time outside of class for everything to be equal. Not the case, so I'm hoping that I've picked reasonably low-traffic hours to work so I can get some of my own work done while in the tutoring center. Probably not though.

The big bonus is that the section that is still running only has 15 students registered. I'm hoping that it stays that low come the actual start of classes. I'm guessing that there might be a last-minute influx of students when winter intersession grades come in, but if the intersession students in general followed the advice I gave my students last semester, there should be a low fail rate for that class. This will be a pretty high-stakes semester for the students since failure requires them to attend summer school. I'd hate to teach the second summer session version of this class: That's the last chance to pass before being shown the door.

I have a notice about one student from last semester who apparently, since he failed the class, didn't drop and didn't show up for most of the semester will have to pay back some of his financial aid (!) if he didn't have some sort of academic activity for the class after a certain cut-off date. I was thinking of cutting him a break and considering his last e-mail to me as an academic activity: "advisement"), but it's before the cut-off date. Since I offered to give him tutoring and help try to keep him prepared for the re-take of the class and he didn't take me up on the offer, it looks like he owes the university some money.

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