05 May 2020

Second wave of marking

If we have a module that includes an essay and a presentation, we tend to do the latter first. Then when students get questions afterwards that give them new ideas, they can still incorporate them into their essay. But with the pandemic hitting towards the end of the semester, just the sort of time when such assessments were due, things changed. Students could still upload essays when face-to-face teaching was suspended, but presentations were suddenly off the cards. We had to think of something else. Have the students record their presentations? Have them provide notes? However we would sort it, we would have to give the students time to adjust. They had been preparing for delivery in person. And the suspension of face-to-face teaching came on rather short notice! So all presentation deadlines were moved back. And these deadlines ended all in pretty much the same period. Generally, on top of deadlines that had already been in position. That was OK for the students as they were from all different years. No student had several deadlines on the same day! But for us staff, they all came at the same time. So hence me taking a day off before that tidal wave would hit.

In addition to these postponed presentation deadlines, we had the dissertation deadline that had moved less; this now fell in the same week. And then there were the exams. The undergraduates have their exams in May, but the postgraduates do them earlier. So my postgraduate exam fell between the deadlines for dissertation presentation and dissertation itself! So enough to do. 

In a way, this was made easier by the weather turning, and it not being too much of a pity to be sitting in my office. The day of the deadline for dissertation talks I spent quite some time answering student questions, but soon after the marking was well on its way. Let’s see how much I can get out of the way before the undergraduate exams come in. And when that’s done too it will be time to prepare for academic year 2020/21. Probably the weirdest academic year I’ll ever witness! 

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