The OC (Week 15)

This post is part of an ongoing series.

Season Finale

We have officially left the regular season. Post-season takes place tomorrow. Or something like that. Whatever.

Week 15 marked the last week of regular classes for the semester, and we finished it by finishing up our presentations. Tuesday saw some technical difficulties, and Thursday saw some more, but the brightest minds in OC’s IT department are in my class, so we got it all worked out.

A Polite Reminder

We finished up on Tuesday with fifteen minutes to spare, and I just let them out early. As I headed toward the podium to pack up my laptop I said offhand, over my shoulder, “See you Thursday.”

Then I stopped, turned to glare them all in the eye (that’s right, thirty-two eyes all at once, it’s a professor thing), and I said with a dread pronunciation, “See you Thursday.”

A chuckle went around the class, but I got numerous affirmations from those who’d missed the previous Thursday, and then they fled the room.

It worked. Thursday we had a full class, and I was able to give some last-minute clarification concerning the Final with the confidence of knowing everyone was there. That was nice.

Semester Projects

Thursday was also the due date for Semester Projects. They’d haggled a midnight deadline earlier in the semester, so that held and they had until the very last seconds of Thursday to get the document turned in for full credit. Someone else (I’ll let you guess who) had worn me out with his arguments and convinced me to accept late work, too, but I instituted a 5% per day penalty for it.

There was some discussion whether that should be pro-rated, or lump sum, and the arguments on both sides of the debate were pretty compelling. I ended up pro-rating, because I like my students.

Anyway, I got all the projects over the weekend, and they’re now all graded. They turned out awesome. I remember that being one of the things the class was most famous for when I took it, and at the beginning of the semester when I asked my students what they knew about the class they were signed up for, the project was the only bit any of them had any clear ideas on.

I had some concerns that the reputation of the semester project might fade with a new professor at the helm, but for now I think it’s safe. They did some really cool stuff, and nearly all of the finished projects are going to be terribly useful. Several of them will even be useful to me.


I made that all sound like a lot of fun, but those four words up there — “they’re now all graded” — actually represent a pretty miserable experience. Who knew semester projects could be such work for professors? Both of my parents are teachers, so I’ve heard grumbling and complaining about having stuff to grade all my life, but I didn’t really get it, until I found myself with a mountain of stuff to grade.

It’s no fun at all. Just horrible. I really don’t recommend it. If you’re teaching a class, go all California-hippie on them and don’t do grades. Or quantum physicist and assign grades completely at random. That would have to be better than actual analytical numeration. Blech.

(I’ve also been coming down with a cold in the same days that I’ve been going through that process, so it could be having an impact on my attitude. Time will tell, I suppose.)

Anyway, it’s done. It’s done and it’s done and it’s done. I’ve got Finals on Thursday, and I’m confident everyone will show up, and the minute that’s over, I should be able to turn in final grades and be done with the class. How cool is that?

More next week (or, conceivably, tomorrow).