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7:46pm on Thursday, 7th February, 2019:

Early Start


I got to the university at 7:20 this morning, to prepare for my 9:00 class with my CE217 students.

This week's class (which will continue next week, as it takes three hours but I only have a two-hour class) is a game. It's about running a games company, and in the past the students have seemed to like it. I had all the materials printed out already, so just had to make sure that everything was collated properly and that the timings were going to be right.

I started a few minutes after 9:00. I'm not naive enough to expect all my students to show up at the start, even though I'd told them in advance that we were playing a game. I started off with an introduction that I'd also printed off, so late-comers could read what they'd missed. This took up the first fifteen minutes or so, during which some students did indeed arrive late.

The game works best for students in groups of two or three, so I told them to form as groups of two. That way, when people arrived late they could join an existing group and become a threesome.

The game proper began somewhere between 9:15 and 9:20.

More students appeared in the next few minutes. I told them to join groups. Some of them listened and did. Some of them didn't and just sat down and stared at the screen. I had to go to them and wave my hand in front of their face so they knew I was talking to them.

A few more minutes later, a clutch of students arrived. I told them all to join groups, or if there were already three in a group to split it into two groups of two. This, they did, except for the ones who were sitting there alone, not in a group, a full ten minutes later.

I explained what I wanted the students to do. I was asked questions by the late-comers. These were questions I had spent ten minutes answering at the start and had written down on the paper I had handed out. I answered the questions. Some of them seemed a bit miffed, as if I should have waited for them before starting the game. I expect to be marked down in the Student Assessment of Coursework forms for my incivility.

Eventually, the game got under way and no more late students arrived. All the groups made different opening decisions, which is unusual; the game is actually going to be quite interesting.

In general, the students in this class are very good. In the lectures, they're not afraid to ask questions and the questions they ask are intelligent. I'm really quite pleased with them. It's just, if we're going to play a game in class, it ought to be fairly obvious to game students that they should arrive at the start of play.

I despair, sometimes.

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Copyright © 2019 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).