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¶ welcome to 6.893
So I'm a teaching assistant (TA) for Larry's course this semester. It's 6.893 - Pervasive, Human-centric computing. It's an SMA class, meaning that all of our classes are teleconferenced with universities in Singapore. There are a number of large television screens and cameras in our classroom, so that we can hear and see them, and they can hear and see us. Larry conducts the lectures, and I'm there on standby. We have a massive technical support team of videographers, teleconferencers, and computer people ready to assist if the video stream, audio stream, or computer broadcast breaks down. Since Singapore is pretty much on the exact opposite side of the world from us, it's hard to find a good class time. So we meet twice a week - Monday 9 AM EST (10 PM in Singapore) and Wednesday 8 PM EST (9 AM in Singapore).

The class focuses on emerging technologies. Every student is given an HP H5550 iPaq handheld computer. These things are jacked (Intel XScale 400 MHz cpu, 128 MB RAM, 802.11b wifi, bluetooth, 16 bit color, etc.) Comes with WinCE, but we're wiping it and installing linux, python, gtk+, and java. We're going to spend a week on each of location tracking, handwriting recognition, speech recognition, and computer vision, and then do a final project integrating all of those technologies. Sounds cool, right?

Me, i'm like "shit..." cause I've never taken the class before. I haven't done any of the assignments, or had experience in any of those fields. But, in Larry's words, I'm the first line of defense when something goes wrong for the students. My job is to stay one week ahead of the students and try as hard as I can to figure out what might go wrong, and how to fix it. And if there's one thing a student hates, it's an unprepared TA. *whimper* And all I really want to do is play with the iPaqs.

Re: welcome to 6.893
Posted 17 years, 10 months ago by stacy • • Reply
TAing a class you've never taken before? Responsibilities include staying one week ahead of the students in terms of assignments? Sounds familiar to me... But at least you and Larry talk. ;)

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