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09 October 2016 @ 01:37 pm
Weekly Notebook  
Sunday: 16k run (thought I might work slowly up to half marathon distance and see how I feel about it). Usual household chores and catching up. Sausage Casserole for supper (may the various packet sauce companies never stop making Sausage Casserole packet sauce!)

Monday: Gave a talk at work (a re-run of my TAROS talk), seemed to go OK. Read project specifications from some of my students.

Tuesday: Wrote up a quick guide to software engineering for my project students in the hopes that their project plans would become more realistic as a result. Had some rather frustrating conversations with them in the afternoon. E.g.

Me: Why did you add all this complicated stuff into your project plan?
Student: Because it says the robot should explore the room in the project description.
Me: I'm sure it doesn't, let's take a look.
* We look at the project description. I read it out to the student. Including the bit about finding and displaying Mars surface data in a 3D simulator *
Student (panicked): But I don't know anything about 3D simulators!
Me: But it says in the project description "student must be familiar with 3D simulators"
Student: I didn't read that bit

Bear in mind that the project description is only 3 paragraphs long, I wasn't expecting him to have read and understood 10 pages of fine print. I've no idea what project he thought he'd chosen. I keep telling myself that, with 8 students, there was always a high chance that one would be at the lower end of the bell curve and I shouldn't invest too much time and energy in trying to rescue him. As B. has pointed out, there's a reason why I was so happy to give up teaching when I stopped being a lecturer. I'm definitely going to have to work on keeping my stress levels down, even with the fairly minimal amount of teaching that comes with the new post.

Wednesday: Went to a briefing meeting for an "Inreach" project in which I will mentor a bunch of undergraduates producing an activity for a University "Science Jamboree". Actually got some work that might pass for research done!

Thursday: Drove to work in order to collect the "robot table" that I use for some events. Problem project student emailed asking for a meeting because he couldn't get his Raspberry Pi onto the university Wifi network. Although I did actually have time I figured I could waste quite a lot of it on a day ear-marked for research doing this for him, so emailed back to say I wasn't available and he should familiarise him with running his Raspberry Pi powered robot directly, rather than over the network (was terribly proud of myself). B's older brother was at home when I arrived, though he left before my sister turned up to stay the night (she was speaking at a conference in Manchester).

Friday: Went out for lunch with B. We tried the new(ish) restaurant at the Whitworth which had been much trumpeted when it opened (indeed last time we tried to go there for lunch we couldn't get in). It was something of a disappointment the starter arrived after the main course (though B. thinks this was because we messed up when ordering) and my burger was burnt (B. tried to persuade me it was artistically char-grilled, but I'm fairly sure it was burnt). Conference call in the afternoon with the IEEE committee that's trying to come up with guidelines on the ethics of artificial intelligence and personal data.

Saturday: Spent the day at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry running a Lego Rover stand as part of International Day of the Girl. The plan was that groups of Brownies and Girl Guides would go around various stands to experience structured activities. Initially this was pretty chaotic with random children turning up and leaving, but by about midday they had sorted themselves out and a small group would, indeed, come to the stand to be lead through what was going on. I also talked to a fair few members of the general public and some people from Computing At School North West who seemed interested in the idea of adopting the Lego Rover activity as something primary schools might use, so all in all a useful (if tiring) day.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/213663.html.
wellinghallwellinghall on October 9th, 2016 02:01 pm (UTC)
I wasn't surprised at you giving a Tardis talk, but I was surprised that you gave it at work. Then I read your post properly.
fredbassettfredbassett on October 9th, 2016 09:06 pm (UTC)
Your student will no doubt grow up into the sort of person I once had as a client where I sent out a contract with a power of attorney attached with detailed instructions in the cover letter to say sign the contract, where indicated, then sign the power of attorney where indicated and have that signature witness. there were sticky tabs on eh relevant pages and it was fully marked up in pencil.

Client returned it with contract only signed. I asked why he hadn't dealt with the power of attorney and he said he'd stopped reading at that point. I was very tempted in future letters to him to keep adding :Continue reading, the next it is important, too!
louisedennislouisedennis on October 10th, 2016 10:26 am (UTC)
I was pretty surprised. I think the fact English isn't his native language factors into it - I can see it makes reading harder work, but conversely, if you're working in a second language I would expect you to read more carefully because on the whole aural understanding is harder (maybe not if you're Chinese, I don't know). He's rude as well with a bad habit of breaking into conversations I'm having with other students (or staff members) in the lab with demands I deal with his problem. So I'm thinking poor student, with problems compounded by working in a second language (and possibly being an Electrical Engineer working on a programming project).

Certainly, with the other students, it's clear some of the issues arise from much lower exposure to programming work (and therefore some unreasonable expectations about how long things may take them to achieve).