Friday, July 11, 2008

On Exams, Christopher Glamorganshire and blogging.

While reading Chris Cope's excellent "Dancing the Polka with Miss El Cajon" I have to confess that his observations about writing under exam conditions reminded me of something I have thought for a long time.

Students (and I was and am one) work all through the academic year using their desktop or laptop computers and then in examination rooms they are asked to write longhand.


During their course all submitted work has to be word processed and either printed or submitted electronically (or both), then in the exam they are asked to write longhand under extreme pressure.


During lectures those that take notes (and not many do) will write in longhand, copying down the thoughts of their lecturers; but note taking is not essay writing and to my mind provides little preparation for answering exam questions. In writing this post I am rather dependent upon my word processing skills, constantly changing the order of sentences, words and paragraphs. Word processing has changed the way that I work. The examination system used in Higher Education no longer reflects the way that we work in the real world. What are we to do?

Perhaps the time has come for word processing facilities to provided in examination rooms. Or is it time we reconsidered the role of the essay in examinations.
Either way something needs to be done.

Hidden away in the comments on Chris' blog an anonymous respondent asked about Christopher Glamorganshire which led me to this article.

It seems that an Assembly Government civil servant who lost his job for keeping a political blog has taken his case to an employment tribunal. It's likely that the case will hinge on whether or not his contract allowed for blogging.

Employers and employees will need to check their contracts and conditions of service.

Are you allowed to blog?

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