What went well:
This week was super chill. I finished making the exam last weekend and had my TA’s test it out which was great. All the work I had to do really was to make Monday’s lecture. I also scraped through every single homework and project we did this semester to make sure I graded everyone’s work and had correct grades.
For every tech series speaker, I send them an internal thank you (that comes with money). My coworker who did the machine learning talk, whose team I’ve worked with extensively, sent me a really awesome email to respond to my thank you: “It was a pleasure to do the smallest possible thing for the great work you have been doing. Thank you as well. The team is really proud of you and your work there. Let us know if you think we can help a bit more.” I was really happy for this email!
About halfway through the week, one of my students reached out and asked if she could take an incomplete and finish the work after the semester ends due to extenuating circumstances. I reached out to to the professors to ask about this policy, and I learned that there indeed is this policy. The students can take a course and take an Incomplete as their grade as long as they make up their work by the end of Spring 2021 if the professor agrees. The policy did also say clear guidelines need to be set, and I did so. I also ended up reaching out to four other students who weren’t doing so well in the class to see whether they had extenuating circumstances — this is what I asked first without telling them about Incomplete, and after they explained their situation and said they wanted to take this option, I set expectations with all of them that we’re going to set up a meeting to go over all the work they have to do, 2 weekly meetings a week for progress checking, and everything has to be done by Dec 31 (but actually they’re going to take the final on Jan 4, after I found out we don’t have work that day).
During my second section’s final, I thought about what and how to set up building an app for the ten students who are interested in it. I’m really excited! I set up an email group and sent out a survey for the first meeting, and I’m happy to be doing this. It’ll be a fun adventure, and I hope we build some cool apps!
I gave my last lecture this week, and it was bittersweet, as usual. I didn’t feel super strongly, but I suspect that probably has to do with not being in-person. I did feel more strongly when the final finished though, a closing chapter to all of this. I’m relieved that I’m done, but I’m also sad that it’s over. During my last lecture, I thanked them for doing this class and for dealing with my mishaps, and I acknowledged the amount of work there was for this class and applauded them for it. I do really hope that this class went well for most of these students and that they continue pursuing computer science.
My final exam scores were perfect. Nailed it! Finally got it right; the median and standard deviations were perfect. Yay!
What could be improved:
I taught my students how to upload their code onto Github on Monday, and then it crossed my mind that not only did I write a lot of that code, a lot of that code was also very specific to Mimir’s platform. I thought about what to do, the first idea being write a copyright at the top of all files I wrote. But, that would require a lot of work for students and I didn’t know whether they would actually write it, so I ended up writing a readme file for both the Blackjack and search projects with a note that I wrote a lot of the files. Hopefully that’s good enough.
This isn’t really something that could be improved, but it was just interesting. One of the other GIRs decided to make her exam very difficult such that her best student should be able to barely finish and possibly make some mistakes, reason being she made the midterm too easy. I’m not sure how I feel about that, especially since later, we were talking about how a lot of students checked out and weren’t doing so great across the board (well, across the GIRs who were in this week’s cohort call).
We have a group of dedicated Google volunteers to do office hours set up by GIR per school, and one of the GIRs was saying how one of her students didn’t want to go to the office hours by one of the volunteers because he looked like an old, scary man (he’s white). I thought that was an extremely thought-provoking problem, and it really shows that even we may have overlooked this. But at the same time, we can’t really say “if you’re black or Hispanic, please volunteer for this”. I was just so intrigued by this problem because it’s something I never would have thought of.