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1:34pm on Wednesday, 27th June, 2012:



The results of this year's undergraduate examinations were out yesterday, or at least I think they were — no-one actually tells we lecturers. I've no idea how any of my students did. Time was, they were put up on a noticeboard for all to see, but it would seem they're no longer a matter of public record and the Data Protection Act applies.

I believe I can go and look at a list of names and grades in the School Office, but that wouldn't help a great deal as I don't actually know the names of many of my students. Well, I do know their names, just as I know their faces; what I don't know is which name goes with which face. I know for my own final-year project supervisees and a handful of others, but in general I'm ignorant. This isn't because I want to be ignorant, it's because I don't hear their names in connection with their faces often enough. It would be great if the University could give us a set of mug shots and the names associated with them, but it can't (or at least won't).

When I was in the first year, we had a Physics class. There were about 12 of us in it. The lecturer, Lachlan MacKinnon, who was close to retiring, took in our classwork at the end of the first week. In the second week, he read out the names on the (now marked) classwork so he could see to whom he should hand them back. On all subsequent weeks, he just handed it back to the right person ("Mr Bartle ... Mr Tagizadeh ..."). This impressed me no end, because I had no idea who anyone else in the class was despite having had the same amount of information as he had.

I'll have to do my usual trick of turning up at graduation day and actually asking my students, face-to-face, what degree they got. Hopefully, none of them will have done so badly they'll thump me in revenge.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).