>My medieval survey class was initially scheduled in a large lecture hall on our satellite campus — a dimly lit, echoing nightmare of dilapidated room that was terrible for a class of 20 that relies on discussion. But I wasn’t going to be a diva about it because I thought if this horrible building and its crappy classrooms were good enough for my grad students and their comp classes (usually in the smaller rooms, of course), it was good enough for me.
However, it’s one of those lecture rooms that slope down from the doors, with steps that are of unconventional depth and without railings. My blind student* pointed out that this was very dangerous for him. (*Note: I wouldn’t normally identify him as such, but I don’t want to refer to him by name or even initial on the blog. Further down I will refer to him as Funny Guy because he’s got a pretty darn hilarious and corny sense of humor.) So I called Wednesday morning to have the room changed and got it immediately because of the safety issue, despite the current chaotic room shortage problem on campus. I made a command decision to have the change effective for the Thursday class and e-mailed all the students to tell them. I e-mailed them all more than 24 four hours before the class.
Our students are told they’re expected to check their campus e-mail because that’s the *only* way they get certain important information, including billing statements, notices of registration holds, etc. The ones who are savvy have that e-mail forwarded to their Gmail, Hotmail, or other account that they use more frequently, but, sadly, many students on our campus are kind of clueless when it comes to electronic media. (Tangent that may become a separate post one of these days: when I read Margaret Soltan‘s posts railing against the use of laptops in class, I think, “What planet is she living on? What planet am *I* living on? Where are these laptops?”) And now I know that despite the *requirement* to use their campus e-mail, they don’t check it.
How do I know this? Half the class didn’t show up on Thursday. Funny Guy checked his e-mail — I called him to make sure because I knew he wouldn’t be able to see a room-change notice and I didn’t hear back from him — but half of the rest of the students did not. Perhaps I should have been calling the sighted students instead of Funny Guy; clearly they needed more looking after. (Funny Guy genuinely appreciated the call, but I now feel kind of like a condescending schmuck. However, it did give us an opportunity to chat more about textbook issues and I got those sorted out.) And, alas, the classroom management office obviously failed to put up a notice about the room change — as they’re supposed to do — since I got an e-mail from one of the students later in the afternoon yesterday telling me that the missing students were all there wondering where the rest of us were. I should have gone there myself to put up a sign or a message on the board, but I trusted the process. Silly me.
In other unintended consequences, it seems that if you tell a fanboy that you like Tolkien and Star Wars, you will get a marriage proposal. Granted, it wasn’t a serious marriage proposal, but one of my students yesterday did indeed say, upon learning that I am Tolkien and Star Wars fan, “Will you marry me?” Also, it seems I look just like a character in another student’s own fantasy literature writing. That’s not really a consequence of anything — except maybe of not having bothered to get my Medusa hair cut in a year — but I thought I’d mention it. Clearly, I’m already deeply in with the fandom crowd and it’s only the first week of class. I love being a medievalist!