15 May 2007
Teaching and Other Work
Classes started today. (Well, actually yesterday, but my teaching is Tuesday-Friday). We are in Barcelona so I can teach in a study abroad program that the College of Computing at Georgia Tech has run for the last six years or so. We bring our own GT undergraduates to Barcelona, and the classes are taught by GT professors. This summer there are three CoC professors, myself, Merrick Furst, and Jim Foley. There is also an architecture professor, Sabir Khan, who comes nearly each summer. Students can choose from four CS classes and two architecture classes; they can also take Spanish taught by a local institute.
I am teaching two courses, "CS 4235 - Introduction to Information Security" on my own, and "CS 4001 - Computing, Society and Professionalism" with Jim. The teaching schedule is intense since a semester's worth of contact time and material must be compressed into the 10 week summer term. That term includes two one-week travel breaks, so classes meet over the remaining 8 weeks. Each class meets 6 hours/week. I have a greater appreciation for instructors and those who work at teaching-intensive institutions. I'm certainly not accustomed to lecturing 12 hours/week, as I did for the first three weeks.
It is also interesting how the relationship with the students changes in this kind of setting. We require class attendance, and the students (so far) are abiding by this. They do occasionally look as though they have arrived in class from the clubs that don't open until 3am or later. I have perhaps 20 students who are taking both of my classes; that provides a nice chance to create connections between the material in the two courses (though they also have to listen to my jokes twice). Seeing the students every day also makes for a more coherent class conversation. Of course, we also have the shared experience of living in this incredible city.
I've been doing most of my class preparation in the mornings, from about 7am until 9:45am when I leave to take the subway to the UPC campus where our classroom is located. With both classes, I am teaching from 10:30am-1:30pm, then return to the apartment by about 2:30pm. That will ease up when Jim has his turn with CS 4001.
Mornings are a good time to work – everyone in the US is sleeping, of course, so there are few email interruptions. It takes some discipline not to work all day, actually, since by the time I return from class the east coast is waking up and email starts arriving. I've had a number of work phone calls scheduled from mid afternoon into early evening. I have a collaborator who is on the west coast, so we generally talk either first thing in the morning here or last thing in the day here. (Working less got a lot easier after Dan and the girls arrived!)