First day of classes for me today. It's "spring", sort of, so I must be teaching Algorithms and Data Structures.
Last year there were about 80 students in the class, a remarkable reversal after several years of decline -- the year before that there were fewer than 40. Of course, this was not successful for everyone, so even though our intro programming class has continued to grow, I'm expecting fewer students this year. The fall theory class (our intro complexity class) had about 60 students, and usually my numbers are a few less than that. They had about 80 students last year too. So my expectation for the final course size is in the (mid) 50s.
When I got to class I wondered if the room assignment hadn't been posted -- only about 20 people showed up. But lots of people wandered in a few minutes late, and then more and more as the class went on. The joys of Harvard's shopping period (though I can't recall ever quite such a number of late arrivals). I'm pretty sure at least 60 showed up at some point during the class; my initial estimate may be pretty close.
What's very odd this year is that on day one there's 48 people signed up for the Distance Education version of the class through the Extension School. (Still time to sign up!) That's definitely more than normal. A big fraction of those students are likely to drop out -- many quickly figure out the class is more than they can handle -- but that's still a much larger starting number than usual.
Hopefully, by next week, I'll have more accurate numbers for both versions of the class.
Lecture went fine. Very well, in fact, in that a number of students raised their hands in response to my questions, and they had, as a whole, very good answers and insights. Optimistically, I'm looking forward to an above-average class this year.