Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I did another 4 hours of teaching work today. As a result, it was another WaaD day, albeit a lesser one.

Things started off quite well in the morning. I had a meeting on the VLSI project that I was designing for 3rd year undergraduates. We finally agreed that they will be tasked to design a digital voltmeter (DVM). This topic had been offered as Masters projects for the last few years and nobody has successfully built one. I'm going to have to build one within the next fortnight or so to ensure that everything works properly. The final design agreed upon would be a fair amount of mixed circuit work.

Then, things started to go downhill when I started to mark 2nd year lab reports. I met a student who had entirely different results from that of his lab partner. Not only were the results different, they were wrong. For example, the refractive index for glass was labelled as perspex. I was hesitant in accusing the person of plagiarising the report as I did not have any evidence.

But it was fairly obvious that either he or his partner did. So, I just kept silent and stared at the both of them questioningly. His partner claimed that his results were the original ones that they got. Unfortunately, neither of them could produce their original lab notes. Then he admitted that he might have fudged the results a bit because they didn't make any sense. That's essentially admitting that he had not done his work.

So, I gave him two options. He could either redo his report or I can fail him. It was entirely up to him. He chose to redo the report. I then dismissed him to mark up his partner's report. Unfortunately, this year, I'm only marking the ones on Tuesday. There are other people marking at other times. So, he could feasibly get away with signing up for a mark up session on another day and probably get away with not doing his work. As long as I don't have to pass him, my conscience is clear.

But I ended the day fine with the bunch of first years doing C++ programming. They didn't suck as much as the second years did yesterday. In fact, all of them managed to complete their task before my lunch. They had to write about 10 lines of code as well. There was a pair that I was particularly worried about as both of them seemed extremely blur. But they are worth saving as they do give things a good attempt.

Then things became even better when I went for lion dance and met a friend practising piano in the music room. He sounded quite good so I went up to observe him play. I then pointed out some technique and stylistic errors that he could work on. He hits the keys with his fingers. But to play well, he needs to learn to caress the keys. This will involve using his wrists more and lowering their centre of gravity. I'd also noticed that he doesn't have enough strength, which also stems from having a stiff wrist as it wastes energy. I think I'd prefer teaching this friend the piano to teaching the undergrads.

PS: My neighbour has brought a girl back to his room tonight and they have been laughing and giggling in his room for the last 15 minutes. I wonder why... It's already past midnight. I hope that they don't keep it up for too long. I'd like to get some sleep!

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