Sunday, November 17, 2013

Professor for one year (week 26): Half-time

In week 26, the first half of my year as acting professor was over.  Actually, this was six weeks ago -- I'm a bit behind with blog posts.  However, I will try to review this first half:

When I started teaching in Konstanz, I had sort of a cold start as I had almost no time for preparing lectures.  In summer term 2013, I taught three courses: Grammar Engineering (basically writing LFG-grammars with XLE), Perl for Linguists, and a seminar on NLP for Writing Technology.  I had taught the latter two before, so there was plenty of material available including assignments and sample solutions, but I had to adapt it.  I had no experience with XLE, so I had to learn it while preparing lectures, but I had a teaching assistant to help with assessing assignments and with tutorials.  In the end, I prepared lectures week to week.  For the first half of Summer term, I also had a teaching appointment at the University of Basel, finishing my seminar in Spring term (for musings on different term dates see this post). And I also finished the implementation of the annotation application for the OLdPhras project in Basel.

There was no time left for research of for writing publications.

Additionally, I participated in the PostDoc Program at the University of Zurich and in the Global Perspectives Programme at the University of Basel. So I had a really busy summer!  I still have to write my final report for GPP ...

Usually, NLP conferences take place in fall and submission season is spring or summer.  So with no time for writing articles, I don't have publications for 2013?  No, I do have, because in 2011 and 2012 together with colleagues I submitted several papers to some linguistics publication channels.  And in the humanities, publication takes time -- so these papers did appear 2013, and I'm still waiting for another one that is still "in press".

After the end of summer term in Konstanz, I had two weeks of vacations, and then I started my fall conference tour.  Although I didn't submit something for the major NLP conferences, I was busy in fall, see the next post.  When I returned, I would have to prepare teaching for winter term, and I planned to do this well in advance, to also have enough time for doing some research, applying for grants, and for blogging -- well, you can guess from this "behind schedule" post, that I didn't manage to balance everything.

All in all, I did enjoy these six months: I got to know another university with lots of specifics (as it is also one of the "Reformuniversit√§ten" in Germany), I enjoyed to be in a more linguistic environment and from talks and colloquia I got a lot of input and new ideas I could adapt for further research.  I never taught so many courses, this was indeed a very new and very challenging experience, but in the end it turned out OK and in winter term I also teach four courses (but all four at the University of Konstanz).  The students attending my classes were an even more heterogeneous audience than at the University of Zurich.  But I had the impression (and the result from the evaluation surveys support this), that we created a challenging but supportive learning atmosphere where they could benefit from one another.

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