My internship that started in August is coming to an end. I have held one class for the last time already on Monday, the final class section is on Friday.
Overall it has been a fun experience. Being able to see how the other side of campus operates was a unique experience. I mean that in respect to physical location, though Digital Media and Computer Science overlap in many ways. Additionally, having been both staff and student previously at the University of Central Florida (UCF), being an adjunct faculty provided a different take on the semester. From an education standpoint I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes.
The internship lesson that impacted me the most was seeing all the bureaucratic slowdown that happens behind the scenes. A simple request I could have done myself at home and would have taken less than a minute, took weeks to happen at UCF. There are still some ramifications from that, about how the process was handled and identifying the issues that slowed down it being processed.
As far as the teaching aspect, that was much different than my previous experiences. I have been an undergraduate teaching assistant (TA) before, but that was very structured. When I was TA, I was given slides every week to cover. I simply went through those slides, and then answered any questions I could about their content. On average it would take 30-45 minutes of a 50 minute lab session to cover everything.
With these labs, they were two hours long and often the students would stay pass the class time. I was personally fine with them staying longer. Another difference was that these labs were partially self directed. I would make sure the students were aware of upcoming due dates and assignments, but what they chose to tackle during the lab session was up to them. It did make the teaching experience a little more difficult, since I no longer had a script to read from. I had to be ready to call on my personal knowledge and experience to help them resolve any issues they were having with those projects.
The good news the professor for the course, and my internship, spoke with me this week. He said he felt all the students in my section had done great. They still have their final projects to turn in, but he felt comfortable they would turn in good product. That was great to hear, as during the semester I was never involved with the grading part of the lab. At times I just had to assume they were doing great without any immediate confirmation being available to me.
Bonus Fact: I found out OTC-500 is one of the only buildings on campus where the A/C controls are unlocked. Typically the controllers are only used as sensors, and a master control system actually turns the A/C on and off remotely. Discovering this became a necessity on Monday after the A/C turned on for the fourth time, even though the room was already cold at 67 degrees. The downside… you don’t want to imagine the burning smell from a heater that probably hasn’t been used in years. All ten people still working, in different offices at opposites ends of the building, could smell it. Life is always a learning experience.