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FAO CAA Yr 3: Your Minor Project Grades & Drop-In Tutorials

Alan and I have now completed our assessments of your minor projects and I will be emailing out your proformas on Friday afternoon.   Your assessments are double-marked, meaning Alan and I assess your submissions separately without discussion, before coming together to moderate our marks and determine an overall grade.  As you know, Alan and I often look at projects in different ways - I hope you agree that's a strength - and you may be reassured to learn our respective grades varied by only 1 or 2 percent.  It's not always like that (as Alan and Phil reach for their duelling pistols!) but this year we were in near total agreement.

We know that, really, you are all waiting for proformas before your thoughts can turn to the terrain of your major projects.  Alan and I have written loads of feedback on your forms - some of which relates to your submission, and some of which relates to the goals, emphases and challenges of your major project. My suggestion is we all wait until you've received, read and reflected upon your feedback before we all see each other again for our next tutorial; for example, much of what I might want to say I've written down on your proforma as feedback.   It is also true that many of you know exactly what you need to be doing in terms of progressing your projects and you needn't wait for us for permission to push things along.

Something else for you to think about: tutorials should always be useful - as opposed to procedural.  Last term, Alan and I saw different students routinely.  It maybe now you'd like to see one or other of us for different reasons and at different points. My 'third year drop-in slot' is Monday between 10am and 1pm and Alan's is Friday between 10am and 1pm.  The idea of a drop-in is that a) you're already based on Campus with work to do (so you haven't just come all that way to wait around for a 15 minute conversation) and b) you can 'drop in' to the office for a tutorial as and when you need one and as and when I'm done with someone else. The important thing is you've identified what you want from that tutorial, as opposed to it being just 'more talk' about a project that you and I already know every well.

Short version: your feedback will be with on Friday. I'm suggesting you wait to receive your feedback  before any further tutorials from Alan and myself, and over the weekend you consider what you really need from your conversations with us and how we can be the most helpful.  If you want a tutorial on either a Monday or Friday, we suggest you base yourself on Campus for the whole day, so the tutorial is an aspect of your to-do list, as opposed to its focus.

Of course - in addition to the timetabled slots, your blog updates, emails and tweets all make it possible to chat with us at any time really.  Very often you have a few simple questions that can be answered quickly, so if this is the case, please don't wait an entire week to have a 'timetabled conversation' that needs to be had much sooner.

One clear theme in terms of our written feedback was the power and importance of third years working on campus in close proximity to us and to each other.   The truth is, when a third year works in close association with the building, drop-in tutorials very quickly become redundant, because the flow of advice and feedback is little and often and just a regular part of our working days together.  Something to think about as you consider your schedules and working patterns from this point on...