We have now completed the third and fourth week of my internship. Classes are a little behind schedule due to the delays from Hurricane Irma. This has caused some issues and concerns from the students. A few major assignments have been pushed back to have overlapping due dates. I discovered the students in my Friday lab section, Web Design Workshop (DIG4014), are a smaller subset of the Monday lab section students, Media for eCommerce (DIG4530). Unfortunately, both of these lab sections have large writing assignments due within just a few days of each other. Originally the assignments did not overlap, and there was ample time for the students to work on the assignment and receive feedback. Due to the storms, that work window shrank significantly. This week they ended up having about 20 pages due between the two courses. In addition to the writing, they were required to create and setup a five page website.
On the instructor side of things, I also realize a lot of the students likely had more time to work on the project than originally planned. Most students evacuated and were in safe places with power/internet for the duration of the storm. While it sounds kind of crazy with today’s standards, they could have resorted to handwriting a few drafts of their paper if they lost power. In most areas power was restored within just a few days, so they didn’t lose the entire week of time. If the students were proactive, they could have been ahead and done with the assignment. A few of them implied this was the case during the previous week, that they felt ahead of where they needed to be. That confidence for the most part was lost this week, as many expressed some dismay at the amount of work still ahead of them.
What was a learning experience for me, was the students pointing out the steep curve of required time between the first few assignments. The first task was a relatively easy warm up assignment, and should have only taken one or two hours at most. The next assignment required tens of hours, split across two or three days. This caught the students off guard. After the first task they assumed the next one would be slightly harder, or require a little more time. They were not ready for such a dramatic jump in the time commitment required. This is something I hope to take with me when teaching myself, that there should be a rather smooth curve in required work/time I expect from students.
Working with another department on campus is always an enlightening experience. Every person, every department, and every college does things a little differently. The internship has provided me an opportunity to notice these differences more closely. Another positive aspect is that, I am getting to know the staff and faculty of the School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) better.
The drawback from the internship is the lack of time I now have. I can no longer schedule meetings starting after 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. for my primary job. Now I am teaching classes at those times on Monday and Friday; additionally, I have a course I am taking Wednesday evening. In previous semesters I had online courses, so it gave me the flexibility to plan my own schedule much easier. The last real negative aspect of this experience is that it reduces my social life. Previous semesters I would often grab dinner with people from different areas of the university. These days I find myself on campus every evening until between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.. So while my experience and connections with people in the SVAD continue to grow, my connections with other areas on campus are starting to wither.