Last Day of Term!

So at last we’ve arrived at the last day of teaching for Semester 2 at Maynooth University. My final session – a revision lecture – was actually yesterday. Today I’m on tenterhooks as the students are submitting their Computational Physics project reports ahead of the deadline of 4pm this afternoon and I’m on hand to help with last minute problems. Some have already appeared on Moodle, bucking the fine academic tradition of only submitting things at the very last minute. Students on this module have to do the project in order to pass the module, so I hope they all manage to submit something by the deadline. I saw a few in the lab yesterday afternoon and they seemed to have good results. I just hope they left enough time to write everything up! No prizes for guessing what I’ll be doing next week: marking project reports (and coursework I didn’t have time to correct earlier).

Next week is a study week for the students, so the powers be must think academic staff are going to be sitting around twiddling their thumbs until the exam period begins (on Friday 13th). That’s the only explanation I can think of for the proliferation of meetings in my calendar for next week.

After that of course my colleagues and I will be marking examinations. I have papers on Tuesday 17th May and Friday 20th May. I may be able to get the first set of scripts marked before the second set arrives, but maybe not. At any rate we have to get all the marks up on the system well before the Exam Boards take place in early June. That should be easy for me, but not so much for those staff who have exams much later in the cycle.

This term has been marked by low attendances at lectures and tutorials, for a number of Covid-related reasons. We’ve done our lectures in person on campus, but only around a third of the students have been attending. Neither I nor anyone else knows what that will mean for the results of the forthcoming examinations. We’ll just have to wait and see…

At least our Exam Board will take place in person this time as the Covid-19 situation here in Ireland looks reasonably positive which will make it a bit easier to discuss any important matters that may arise.

This has been a tough year, with half our lecturing staff being temporary replacements after one departure, one retirement and one on sabbatical. One member of staff will be returning from sabbatical in September, and we have one permanent position under advertisement (application deadline: 22nd May) but we’re going to be forced employ temporary lecturers again next academic year as it seems unlikely the permanent replacement will be in post by September and in any case we will be a post down even if that post is filled. I don’t like this at all, but I have no choice.

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