Yesterday, I had both of my CMPT 165 exams (on-campus and distance) back to back. The exams were different enough that students talking for the few minutes between exams wouldn’t get anything useful from it, but no more than that.
Six hours is too goddamn long to be in exams. I can think of no way to describe the day other than a list of happenings:
[tl;dr Go for 2b, 3ab, 4b.]
- Pre exam:
- The first exams start at 8:30. At 7:45, not one but two of my colleagues were still trying to photocopy their exams for big sections. Office photocopier was jamming every two seconds; grad photocopier was down.
- Critical mobile phone usage #1: realizing Amanda would already be in her office, I phoned her and got one colleague into the photocopier in the Dean’s Office.
- “Wait… did I tell that student she could start a half hour early? Where was she going to meet me?” Send TA running to the room with an exam paper, just in case. (No student.)
- On campus section:
- Before the exam, a girl flagged me down and told me she “had cancer before” and had been feeling lightheaded this morning. If she had to leave during the exam, that was why. I tried to get her to Health Services right away, but she insisted on staying. At the end of the exam, I convinced her to at least go and get her blood pressure taken or something.
- Two minutes into the exam, after sitting there for three or four minutes before it started, looking at the exam cover sheet (which says “CMPT 165”) and me, a student put up his hand and said “this isn’t CMPT 120” and left.
- Freakin’ piles of questions, including “can you give me a hint” and “what time does the exam end”. Many more questions than the distance section.
- Distance ed section:
- About 10 minutes into an exam, one of the kids that had run in a few minutes late flagged a TA over and said “I feel like I might pass out.” I talked to him for a few seconds and he was not entirely conscious: able to answer yes or no questions, but that’s about it. He probably couldn’t have walked out of the room at that point.
- Critical mobile phone usage #2: phoned SFU security for a medical emergency. To the credit of security: they came quickly and handled it quietly and with a minimum amount to spectacle to distract everybody else. They took the student to Health Services.
- After all this, I start to realize that I have been getting lightheaded when standing up: I’m hungry and totally dehydrated from four hours running up and down hot lecture halls. A litre of water and snack later, I’m feeling much better.
- A guy came in 45 minutes late after “car problems”. A girl came in about 1:15 late after a car accident on the way from Abbotsford.
- With an hour left in the exam, passed-out student came back! He wanted to finish his exam and was pretty sure he could get it done. I took this as a sign of not yet being fully capable of making decisions and sent him to the distance ed office to schedule an alternate time.
- Critical mobile phone usage #3: phoned distance ed and told them the story so they’d deal with this kid appropriately. Apparently he wrote the exam later in the afternoon anyway (but at least he had the full three hours).
- After the exams:
- I’m barely standing at this point.
- I was talking to Anne, and told her the story of my day. Anne is preparing to teach a course like 165 in Uruguay (since she is currently on study leave). She was translating the course outline to Spanish and kept asking me things like “what wording do you like better?” I must have said three times: “Anne… you know I don’t speak Spanish, right?!”
- I might have eventually just wandered out of her office while she was still talking. I don’t really remember.
There was probably more. That’s all that’s coming to mind at the moment.