Things Fall Apart

Well, I think they’ve finally stolen the last of my cable. When I got here two years ago we had a 100m roll of cat5 along with a couple hundred RJ-45 jacks and a patch panel. Little by little the people from the university have been coming by and taking different things. I was just hunting for the last 20m or so of cable that I had in the closet and it is gone now.

I’m really ready to just give up. There are so many other interesting projects to work on and trying to get anything done here is a slow losing battle against futility.

I had two people who wanted to enroll in the new semester two class that we started two weeks ago. When they took the first semester one though, it was in version 2 of the curriculum. The way the Academy system is set up this means they can’t enroll in my version 3 semester two class. Normally you create a “bridge” course to get them up to date on the new version. Our status in the system is messed up though because our position as a regional academy was revoked a couple months ago.

They pushed to become a regional academy because growth and new projects make it easier to find funding. Being a regional academy means taking on responsibility for managing local academies in the area and we are hardly managing ourselves.

So, eventually the status was revoked, as it should have been. The records in the online system got mucked up though and we couldn’t create the bridge classes. So, it took about a week of dealing with Cisco in order to get all that sorted out. Once I do though, I find I still can’t enroll these students. Upon examining their records I find that neither one of them actually passed the first semester class that they took. One of them had 100% on the final exam. I am good with computers and having just taught the course, when I took the final exam to make sure I’d covered everything, I got 92%. There’s really no way to get 100% on the final exam other than to cheat.

But I wasn’t going to argue that point with them. Instead I told them that they couldn’t take the second semester until they passed the first. They told me that they wanted to take it and asked if there was anything they could do. I agreed to create a new semester one class that they could take quickly and get caught up.

This process managed to destroy my existing class because I kept trying to hold back giving the exams (which are theoretically given on a weekly basis) because I wanted for these students to be able to take the exams. As I held back I ran out of stuff to do since we’d done all the exercises already. When there was nothing to do the other students stopped coming.

This has happened before. It is a real problem. The students stop coming if there isn’t anything going on. Then if you try and start back up people start to show up slowly, but when they come in they want to have everything they’ve missed covered again. So it is a jerky process as I try to keep the students who are coming entertained enough to keep coming and the others up to speed enough that they keep coming as well.

So I was here 12h-20h every day this weekend. I am trying to get Notes done, but it was also so that these guys could get caught up. They never showed up. One skill I’ve not really honed here is being a hard ass. It looks like I’m going to get to practice soon.

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