06 December 2021

Marking frustration

 I had a big assignment to mark fairly early on in the semester. And it took me a while! There were so many other things that also needed doing. But I got it done in the end. That was when I allowed myself a nice hike in the sun. But the next assignment was already waiting for me; for a week or two already, to be more specific. I really needed to get on to that! And I tried to get it out of the way quickly. I knew from then on, the assignments would be coming thick and fast. And one day I didn't get much done; I had a big practical, and in the evening I had Welsh class. So the next day I tried to get as much done as I could. I was working until something like 10 PM. I almost got it done! Only six more to do the next morning. 

I sat down by my computer the next day, full of optimism. And I opened the spreadsheet where I kept my grades and feedback. I tend to do that in Excel; I like that for reasons of being able to just copy-paste if several students do the same things, and for consistency; it is a lot easier to see what grade you gave, say, an introduction without a clearly defined research question, if you have all of it in front of you in a spreadsheet, and you don't have to click through a whole stack of assignments. When I am done and I am confident it's all been done consistently, I copy grades and feedback over into the University software. But when I opened the spreadsheet, it was scarily empty. I keep it on OneDrive; it should just be saved automatically. And so far that had always worked for me! But this time something was wrong. My heart sank. I went straight into OneDrive and checked the versions of the document that were available; there was nothing after 10 AM the previous day. A whole day down the drain. Some uncouth language escaped my mouth. 

There was nothing to it; I just had to do it again. Luckily, the second time around this quicker; I had seen all these assignments the previous day, and I tended to quickly remember what feedback I had given on each assignment. And that they are actually managed to finish it all. The grading, that is; I went to bed before I had transferred the grades and feedback out of the Excel spreadsheet. 

The next morning, before I would actually see the students whose work this was, I managed to copy it all over, and asked a colleague if they could moderate it. I had got it out of six says the way after all! It hadn't been my best day when I had to do it all again, but that was over now. And I had developed the habit to manually save about every two minutes. It shouldn't be necessary, but better safe than sorry. I don't want this to happen again! And there is plenty of scope for that; there is more marking waiting for me…

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