Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's Finals Week ...

... and I can't wait until it's all done. I will admit - it's been a good experience, taking charge over a class of my very own. No matter that I pretty much followed the syllabus of Dr. Michael Wells, but then again, why reinvent the wheel? It was fun coming up with experiments for the students to do, and with one notable exception (they didn't seem to appreciate the VSEPR lab, even though they spent the whole period playing with the very nice Molymod molecular models), for the most part, they enjoyed the lab, and I dare say, gained an appreciation for Chemistry.

I administered the Final Exam this past Tuesday. I gave the students 67 questions, total of 165 points, and figured it should take them 3 hours to complete. One person gave me the paper after a little over an hour. Looking over the paper, I can see why - there were several questions this student did not complete, or answered the "multiple guess" questions randomly. Most of the students completed the exam after 2.5 hours, and one person stayed for the entire 3 hours. A brief look through told me they did well, and I hope they will be pleased with their efforts.

The Lab Final Exam will be administered today, on-line. I've been extremely generous with the on-line assessments, allowing the students as much time as they need to complete the exam. They can only take the exam once, however, but they don't have to complete the exam in one sitting. That is an acknowledgement that my students are of the non-traditional type; they have full-time jobs, have families to look after ... a few of my students admit to me that they try to do their coursework over any breaks, lunch and otherwise, that they can take during the work day. When I have given on-line assessments, they will try the exam during their lunch hours, save it, and then when they get back home, after settling supper, kids, and spouse, they return to the exam and complete it. I've noticed they tend to do better with the on-line exams than the in-class exams. That's fine with me - as long as they are learning the material, it's perfectly fine with me.

My final marks need to be posted by Monday. I should be able to meet that deadline. And then after that - planning. I will be team-teaching Forensic Science 101 with Lt. Chris Hoina of the Cary Police Department and Dr. Jason Mercer. They are both fellow Adjunct Professors at Campbell University's RTP Campus. I am looking forward to this. We will be examining the same case we did last semester (a murder investigation out of the second season of CSI). That should make lesson planning easier, I think.

I will also be planning the summer courses I'm scheduled to teach: Chemistry 111 (General Chemistry for science majors) and Chemistry 227 (Organic Chemistry). The former should be easy; I will be following the wonderful program that Dr. Lin Coker at the Main Campus has put together. The latter, I will have the opportunity to plan from scratch. I will definitely draw on my long experience TA'ing Organic Lab from my graduate school days. Having had the recent opportunity to privately tutor UNC students will also help me as well.

Despite my sometime complaints about my "beloved Dunderheads," I am coming to the realisation that perhaps this is what I am meant to do all along. I am enjoying teaching, and I like spending time with the students. Perhaps sometime in the future, if a teaching job in a university comes along (teaching only, mind you ... I think my research days are over), I think I will apply for it. I'm not going to make scads of money doing it, but I don't need scads of money to be truly happy.

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