It's that time of year when there are lots of eager young faces looking at me in my general chemistry lecture. And with those faces comes a long list of names that I have to try and attach to those faces. Of my many faults, perhaps the worst is my ability to remember names. I am very bad at it, especially when I get more than one new name at a time. An additional complication is that I only see these students on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the long layoff really hurts. Sure I generally get some of the names down quickly, for example I know Nikki from my 9:30 section since she has been to my office twice during the first week (that and for the past several years Nicole is a VERY popular name among our female students so just guessing Nicole gives me a decent shot at being right). But the vast majority of students it takes me a long time to get their names if I do at all. I always fear calling a student by the wrong name so I tend to avoid it.
I have a feeling I am not alone in this. In fact, I was chatting with some of the members of the leadership council this morning and, ummmm, darn it, what's his name....ummmm, Steve, ummmm, no, Adam, yeah Adam, mentioned that his IT folks recommend a flashcard app called Anki. I decided to give it a shot. It isn't exactly the most user friendly thing I have ever encountered (at least the PC version), but it isn't horrible to figure out. It does take some time to enter pictures and names, but it is fairly easy. I'm going to give it a shot. We shall see how it works. Right now I am facing a little bit of a problem in that not all of the pictures of the first year students are available on our campus faculty drive. It looks like they are somewhere in the range of last names starting with the letter O. Hopefully that gets finished in the next day or so. There is also the potential problem of two or more students having the same name making it challenging to decide which picture to use. I guess I'll cross that bridge when and if I get to it. Let's hope this works. If anyone of our loyal BITeS readers has any suggestions, please feel free to share them.