The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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11:25pm on Wednesday, 7th April, 2010:
I performed the first of my duties in San Antonio today: a question and answer session with a group of students on Aaron Delwiche's course at Trinity University.
I love doing this kind of thing. Smart, interested people with smart, interesting questions on a topic I adore (virtual words) — who wouldn't love it? I was only there for 50 minutes, but I would have stayed all afternoon if I could.
My own students don't see conversations with me in quite the same light. In part, this is because they only have my word for it that I know what I'm talking about, but I also suspect they prefer to direct their efforts at content which gets them marks. My passionate explanations of what I was trying to do with MUD and why its echoes are still felt today are of no interest whatsoever unless they're examinable.
While I was in Aaron's office, one of his ex-students showed up. He lives in California now, but on a visit to San Antonio thought he'd drop in on Aaron to tell him that his course had made a tremendous difference to his life and he just wanted to thank him. Aaron was suitably embarrassed, but the former student was so genuine about it that Aaron couldn't do much but graciously accept his thanks.
I can't imagine any of my former students ever coming back and saying anything like that to me. That's because I don't believe I have actually made a tremendous difference to any of their lives — not positively, anyway. I don't suppose I ever will, either, at least not through my teaching (perhaps through an Nth-generation descendant of MUD). It was both awesome and humbling to see happen to Aaron today. Trinity University's Department of Communication students are fortunate indeed...
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