On the subject of grad school, I got the reviews from my teaching assistantship. Once a week I would give a recitation on some subject concerning ethics and computer science. All sorts of stuff from net neutrality to the history of hacking to the development of intellectual property law in America. I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I also had to grade an essay per week for each of the 35 students and that was less entertaining.

I felt pretty good about the recitations. I’m about as geeky as anyone I know and this was essentially geek story time for an hour. My audience was 30 Malaysian students which was a bit challenging, but over the course of the semester I saw a real improvement in their critical thinking skills and writing proficiency. In the end that’s what I really enjoy about teaching.

I did wonder though about what they thought. After I’d stepped up the grading criteria on one of their essays, I asked them if they’d rather if I just saved us all some time, skipped reading the papers and just gave them all B+. All but two said “yes.”

I’ve been wanting to play with Google’s Charts API.

How helpful and responsive was the TA?


How was the TA’s fairness in grading?


Did the TA communicate effectively?


What is your overall rating of the TA?


After bleeding all over their papers and making them work fairly hard, I’m pretty cool with having 80%+ giving me good or excellent. I’d really like to get to teach a class like this at some point in the future. I would really like to see what could be done with it if it were treated as a persuasive writing and critical thinking class as much as a survey of ethics issues. Many of the students weren’t even really in a position to fully appreciate the issues they were introduced to and I think it would have been interesting to try and address that problem.

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