The Guest Lecture

I gave a guest lecture on Wednesday. This is not something I do very often--because no one asks me, that's why. It's a strange feeling, stepping into "someone else's" class, taking over like you own the joint. There's a whole class of students who are used to a certain way of doing things, then suddenly there's some new person who does things all differently. Like using PowerPoint, or something else very strange. And maybe those students are taking that class because they certainly don't want to take my class. (Potential nightmare: walking into the classroom and everyone groans and says, "not that guy".)

This time, I filled in as a favour to Dr Elena Nicoladis. She had a graduate student's candidacy exam to attend, so she couldn't make it to her PSYCO 323: Perceptual and Cognitive Development class. (That's a pretty good reason for missing a class. Not like my reasons: because I gotta go pick up my laundry, or because my fish has the hiccups.) So she asked me, and I couldn't say no. See, she's currently the Department of Psychology's Associate Chair (Undergraduate Program), which makes her...well, kinda-sorta my boss. What, I'm gonna tell her, "Naw, why should I? Help you? What's in it for me? Forget it."? Because when it comes time to renew my contract, she might tell me, "Naw, why should I? Help you? What's in it for me? Forget it."

There's another reason why she asked me--besides the fact that I'm her minion--and that's because I once taught PSYCO 323. Well, twice, actually, way back in 1996 and 1997. OK, that's not exactly true either. I co-taught it twice, with Dr Katherine Robinson. (Co-teaching, that's another strange experience--sometimes one instructor shows up and teaches, and sometimes the other one shows up. It's like flipping a coin, but you never lose. Sorry, I had to say that. Kathy bought me a coffeemaker as a wedding present, so I wanted to say something nice about her!)

Digging up those old lectures was not easy. They were 14 years and many word processors ago (my dearly beloved Ami Pro 3.0). Turns out, Ami doesn't like current versions of Windows, and Windows doesn't like Ami much either. I spent a lot of hours looking for filters that I could shove down Word's throat so it would be able to read my old files. After spending far too much time, I got it to work. A-ha! Now I didn't have to create any lectures from scratch. Except...those old lectures? Crud. Utter crud. Totally outdated. And boring. Rats!

After way too many hours of updating my knowledge of perceptual development, I finished my new lecture. Now it was slightly less cruddy, and no longer totally outdated. (Of course, this is sort of a violation of my self-imposed moratorium on creating new lecture material this year, but it's technically for someone else's class. I love finding loopholes in my own rules.) I had to fill an 80-minute class, because I was told that my lecture was on the 10th of March. wasn't. At the last minute, Dr Nicoladis told me that the lecture was actually on Wednesday the 9th, which means a 50-minute class. But--but--but! That means I'd have to cut my lecture down by almost half! It's really hard to cut out material--almost as hard as creating it in the first place. So I took a hard look at my lecture. What to cut? Ironically, I cut out the only remaining bits from my original 14-year-old lectures. *sigh*

Why aren't you studying?


Anonymous said...

Look at the bright side, the fact that you had to update your slides means that you must have learned something new since you last made those slides fourteen years ago; the fact that nothing was left from your slide fourteen years ago just means you've learned a lot...or that you did a half ass job fourteen years ago and you finally corrected it.

Karsten A. Loepelmann said...

@Anonymous: LOL! Maybe a little of both...

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