Friday, December 21, 2007

I am done with grades!! I finished at 8:30 last night (the deadline was 11:59 pm). Every semester I wonder why I have designed such complicated measures for evaluation. I know it works well, but it takes a lot of effort on my part.

One task at the end of the semester is that I tally up 11 peer assessment spreadsheets in my classes. I had 100 students between my 4 classes. Each student participates in peer assessment three times (for the online class, 19 students, it is twice). A couple of days ago - during a 14 hour stretch as I was power entering, looking up from the student's form to the screen (I am getting to the point in my life where I need reading glasses, after always having 20/20 vision, priding myself on it and considering the wearing of glasses to be a moral failing - I haven't a problem with grey hair, but glasses! I will forget them, lose them, drop them in the garden, sit on them, step on them, the puppy or kitten will get them, ...) I am wearing my glasses, and for paper with small type they are dandy, but they make it difficult to see the screen (my distance vision is still one of those 20s) after hours and hours of entry I am getting dizzy, nauseous, maybe even delirous. I try to not look through the glasses when I enter, but then I have to switch, because I can't see the numbers on the forms I printed out without them. The nauseous delirium turns into a touch of claustrophobia. This room is VERY small and it seems like it gets dark at about 3 in the afternoon.

So I decide to switch to a reading task instead. I don't accept paper from students and I don't print out papers or jounals, I read them off the screen. Don't need glasses for that. I start opening the journals and soon I find I can't see once again. I get to the end of each one, entry #14, and almost every single student has written nearly the same thing. They are gushing about how wonderful the class was, how they would take it over again next semester if they could, how they were sad on the last day, how attending it wasn't a chore, and thanking me in words so profuse and touching I am dumbstruck. Well, I am not talking to anyone at that moment, but you know what I mean. I have to blink away the tears, and I don't often cry. Could there be a better job on this planet? The assessment task got a lot easier after that. I think I will have to compile them in some way to read when I am feeling blue or frustrated in the future. I hope I can work the same magic next semester. With all the changes in the courseware arena, who knows? But I do have some new ideas boiling, so maybe!

Anyway, it looks like I am going to have to get bifocals over the break (with plain glass in the top) or else those tiny half-glasses like Marian the librarian.

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