Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Marking Malaise

I've become quite unfamiliar with the concept of natural light over the past week or so. While I desperately attempt to maintain the illusion that I am as devastatingly attractive as ever, I have a strong suspicion that I have become some kind of Gollum-like creature of slightly more palatable personality.

There are two reasons for this. The first, as documented last week, is the requirement of testing new participants. This is becoming tricky, as first-years are almost finished their term and thus are in short supply. Luckily, there are other means of gathering participants, and so work continues apace in this regard. Alas, at the current juncture there is little else to report, as all I can do is wait for participants to sign up. Although, I have recently launched a pair of surveys that are a precursor to my third experiment; shameless of me, but if you could take one (and only one) of them, I would be most grateful :)


The second reason is marking. The second round of assignments has struck and we the tutors have responded, and responded with vigor. That is, we have complained, vacillated and generally procrastinated for quite some time before hooking into the marking. What followed was many days of my good self sitting at my computer, listening to a combination of trance music and symphonic heavy metal while peering myopically at the latest lab report to batter itself against the crumbling edifice of my sanity and work ethic. This process continues, and probably will for a few days yet.

I won't say marking is fun. It's a challenge, as marking isn't necessarily easy due mostly to my lack of experience. I also tend to take longer than is necessary as I give a lot of feedback. Mostly I take such time because I remember receiving feedback on assignments which didn't always help, and I wasn't the best undergrad in the first place. Of course on top of that you do actually have to fail people. I'll avoid blithering on about that because this post is already sounding something like a whinge.

Let's tag marking as 'an experience', in the full knowledge that sooner or later, a proper emotional tag will become available to describe what sort of experience it is. Although for the record, it's a nice feeling to occasionally tunnel-vision to the extent where the outside world becomes less than a passing thought for hours on end.

And now, as lovely as writing this blog is, I must return to said marking with all haste, as the deadline looms (as only deadlines can). Next week, I shall hopefully return with more news of my experiments and experiences! Until then, may your learning never cease.


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