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1:51pm on Saturday, 14th April, 2018:

Free Time


It's coming up to the time of year when we have final-year project demonstrations and oral (PDO) examinations.

The way this works is that the student has a supervisor and a second assessor. I have seven supervisees, but am not a second assessor (because the two I was second-assessing I'm now supervising, following the move from Essex of their original supervisor). My students have four different second assessors between them.

It falls to the supervisor to arrange the PDOs. They take an hour each of our time. This means I have to find seven slots when I, the second assessor and the student are available. Now in theory this should be something a program could arrange for us, but that would be too easy. Instead, I we have to do the timetabling ourselves. What this means in practice is that all the students are asked to give a list of times when they are available for their PDO; this is intersected with the supervisor's availability; the results are then put to the second assessors to select from, in the hope they don't choose the same slots as each other.

The main problem, it turns out, is asking the students when they are available. Of my seven students, one didn't give availability at all and is so assumed to be available all the time (which clearly is not the case as the student will have lectures to attend). Of the others, one is available most of the time but five have declared that are only available in the afternoon.

What is it with students and mornings?

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Copyright © 2018 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).