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2:44pm on Tuesday, 12th January, 2021:

Time Management


Some of the modules in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Essex University require access to specialised hardware. Because of the ongoing pandemic, students can't be packed into the labs in the usual numbers, so some modules are having to hold multiple labs. I was informed yesterday that because there's at least one Game Design student who also takes the Computer Security module, one of my CE217 lectures would be moved. I wasn't told which one was being moved, just that my timetable would be updated at 10pm. This is despite the fact that we were told our timetable had been set in stone on December 18th.

I logged in this morning to discover that two modules had been moved, rather than one. Teaching begins next week, as do student supervisory meetings. I had three meetings set for the period where the new lectures landed, plus a fourth that was still in negotiation for one of the slots. I also had other meetings to request changes to, with the result that it took me two whole hours to sort everything out.

I asked the School Office if my timetable was safe now or if other changes could be incoming. The answer was that there might be other changes incoming and no-one's timetable is fixed, because there are still some conflicts to be resolved. One of my lectures could be moved because of the ripple effects of a clash between two unrelated modules. So could lectures that my students take. I could have to spend another two hours on Friday rerescheduling everything.

I wouldn't care, but my two-hour lectures aren't actually likely to last longer than 15 minutes. I've pre-recorded everything (well, except one CE217 lecture I'll try to do tomorrow) so the live slots are for questions and answers.

Augh! This is what comes of giving the Timetable Office the power to mutate the space-time continuum.

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