Friday, April 19, 2019

End of Semester - Phew!

Today, Good Friday, marks the end of Semester II this academic year - it was the 34th semester of my time at the National College of Ireland. As Easter is so late this year, our second Reading Week is actually next week - no classes or exams next week. It is always a relief to get through a semester - 13 weeks ago the end seemed so far away, but it has passed in a flash.

St John the Baptist, Blackrock.
Image source: Wikimedia.
I like to look back and reflect on a semester as I feel that I learn something new every time. This past semester I had four classes: two for Statistics, one for R Programming (on-line), and one for Data Visualization. The corresponding semester last year was very hectic, with most weeks being 50-60 hours. I made a decision this year to not do this - trying to keep it to less than 40 hours per week. While this greatly improved work-life balance, it did mean I had less time to prepare classes and grade assessments when compared to last year. I did feel less prepared for classes - even ones I had taught before. One of the things I have never been good at is preparing for classes in the shortest possible time.

I am still a rookie in the online delivery of classes - during last semester I had my second module to deliver on-line: R Programming. I was happy with the way the class went, and based of feedback from students they seemed to like to too. Much still to improve on - but I hope to get the opportunity to do more on-line education again next year.

The College is closed today and on Monday - so a nice end-of-semester break is welcome. Good Friday means choir in the mid-afternoon for me - at 3 o'clock I will be joining my colleagues at the Church of St John the Baptist in Blackrock for Good Friday prayers, before heading to Wexford for the weekend. I have a lot to be thankful for!

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