December 15 Day 647: Interview Marathon Part II

My first academic term teaching face-to-face since March 2020 is close to completed. Continuing my COVID practice of assessing students through oral examinations, I recently finished two long days of interviews. This reflection will detail the process and lessons learned (much as I have done in the past as documented in all these posts.) TheContinue reading “December 15 Day 647: Interview Marathon Part II”

December 13 Day 645: Interview Marathon Part 1

I spent 7 hours (plus a few breaks) administering interviews for individual final oral assessments today. I’m halfway done and will complete the rest in another marathon session tomorrow. Every term has one or two students that just give up. The stress and pressure from school, family, and work take their toll. Today, I feltContinue reading “December 13 Day 645: Interview Marathon Part 1”

December 8 Day 640: The Key is Flexibility

It’s the last class meeting of the quarter and students presented their projects in small groups. I reserved three study spaces/meeting rooms that were in close proximity to each other. Everyone had the schedule, the presentation rubric, and knew when and where they had to be. It felt like attending a mini-conference. I’m glad thatContinue reading “December 8 Day 640: The Key is Flexibility”

November 10 Day 612: Have You Asked? The Answer(s) Might Surprise You.

I am forever impressed by the grit and perseverance of my students. In a reflection following the oral assessment, I asked how they were doing—both numerically and free response. The numerical range was -5 to 5 where 5=absolutely fantastic 0=meh -5= truly terrible. The average was 1.2–so more positive than the Autumn 2020 score ofContinue reading “November 10 Day 612: Have You Asked? The Answer(s) Might Surprise You.”

November 8 Day 610: Oral Assessment Redux

Oral assessment was something I adopted during remote teaching mostly to reduce the adversarial relationship between me and my students. By giving the problems in advance and allowing all resources (including Chegg and other online services) for preparation, no one was violating academic conduct rules. However, each student must individually present solutions to a smallContinue reading “November 8 Day 610: Oral Assessment Redux”

March 19 Day 376: The End of Winter

I know it’s a few days until the equinox and the official start to the Spring, but I feel like tonight I am putting Winter (or at the very least winter quarter) to bed. Yesterday I administered the final oral interviews for Abstract Algebra. After struggling through teaching for three remote quarters (Spring 2020, AutumnContinue reading “March 19 Day 376: The End of Winter”

March 6 Day 363: COVID Practices Part I

Exactly a year ago today, the University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce announced classes would be offered remotely for the final week of Winter Quarter 2020. We had three days notice to adjust. The initial plan was a deep clean, a few weeks of remote engagement, including a “soft start” to the Spring quarter,Continue reading “March 6 Day 363: COVID Practices Part I”

February 11 Day 340: More Appreciative of Less

For those teaching on the quarter system, Winter quarter 2021 is more than half way done. Today I administered an oral midterm assessment in Abstract Algebra. Previously I discussed my struggles with inquiry-based learning in this class because of its low enrollment numbers and I secretly wished for more students. Today I fully appreciated theContinue reading “February 11 Day 340: More Appreciative of Less”

February 3 Day 332: Oral Encore

We are nearing the halfway point of the quarter. Midterms are looming large. I had promised my Abstract Algebra II class that we would come to consensus on the format of the midterm. They were given several options: In class. Straightforward computations and proofs administered remotely but during class time with no advance warning ofContinue reading “February 3 Day 332: Oral Encore”

December 18 Day 285: Finally Finished

After 5 days of oral assessment, including 19 interviews between 8 am and 3:30 pm today with hardly a moment to breathe, I can report that the final assessment interviews for Autumn 2020 are finished. With more than twice as many students as last spring, I feel as if I have entered a Zoom coma.Continue reading “December 18 Day 285: Finally Finished”

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