A Whole Lot of Editing Going On

Monday

Having caught up on my sleep over the weekend…there’s no avoiding it, I need to crack on with the marking again today.  And as before, let’s track how the marking goes.

  • 9.00 am: Check both email accounts and discover that my last student with an extension has submitted.  Good, that means I’ve all the essays I need to mark now.  Decide to find breakfast, tea and check on Prisoner Zero (one of our chickens is on special measures at the moment).  Exchange email with supervisor over a news article we’ve both read, and then pull up all my marking info and the essay directory onto the desktop.
  • 9.25 am: Eat breakfast, post blipfoto for the day.  Steel myself to pick up marking where I left off on Friday.
  • 9.30 am: Ear plugs in (it helps me focus and block out the traffic noise), and one we go.  Half way through marking an essay on Friday, so have to read it all over again now.
  • 10.15 am: always tickles me when students write the number of words at the bottom of an essay, and notes like “excluding references”.  I do just the same for official submissions; despite knowing that any academic worth their salt will not include references within a word count.  Oh wait, there was just this sort of discussion at the CRDC the other week over the project proposal submissions.  Paranoia rules and serves you well in academia.
  • 10.33 am: This essay is written in a river of toffee I think, and I’m trying to swim up stream against the grammatical flow.
  • 10:57 am: Hmn, marking one with a heavy use of quotes…and not much analysis.   Have been guilty of this in days of yore myself, so trying to give pointers rather than just writing “NO NO NO NO!” in the margins.
  • 11.19 am: Time for more tea and a swift check on the chickens.  Working on essays about new media now without ear plugs in as I’m expecting a delivery between “11.28-12.28”.
  • 11.37 am: Delivery man cometh – break off to collect my new tarpaulin (wooo!).  Restore ear plus.
  • 12.23 pm: Marking an essay from a student who rarely appeared in seminars.  Fine-toothed-comb deployed.
  • 12:48 pm: Gah, most of the last 30 minutes dealing with some moderation questions and second marking between a couple of the other academics (one of whom is my supervisor).  Some hard decisions been made.
  • 1.00 pm: No, need lunch.
  • 1.45 pm: And back at it.  Half way through the new media now.  Hmn, think I’ll mark this next one and then the other one I’ve been asked to second mark.
  • 2.12 pm: Eeek!  Thunder and lighting right overhead 😦
  • 2.55 pm: Flagrant apostrophe abuse detected. Punishable by de’ath!
  • 3.12 pm: Still in new media. Urg. Some of these definitions of new media seem to have switched off in the opening minutes of the lecture on the subject, given there were a fair few given there.  Only 3 more of essays on this topic to go and then I can switch to Freud.  Yes, that will be a bless’d relief…especially considering the students’ attitude to Freud in the seminars was “We don’t think he tells us anything”.
  • 3.46 pm: If I could offer one bit of advice to all the students, it’s “think critically”.  Lots and lots of descriptive prose, very little in many cases analytical thinking.  Keep writing notes in the margins like “Yes, that is very interesting – but why is this important? What does this mean? Is there a case against it?”
  • 3.58 pm: NOOOOOOO!  *ahem* Slight blinkered view from current essay causing me to scream at the screen.  Now to write a more constructive comment.
  • 4.11 pm: 13 still to mark.  Beginning to think I might not finish all these today, which is frustrating.  Onto Freud now, which means it’s time for a mid-afternoon pit stop.
  • 5.03 pm: Marking Freud is hard work.  Sneaking suspicion some of the students understand his work better than I do.
  • 5.40 pm: Mrs Llama has arrived home from work, hot, cross and fed up with traffic.  Wondering if she’s going to be projecting onto me shortly as still marking Freud.  Current essay has also given me a WTF moment requiring some background research to mark.  Sheesh.
  • 5.56 pm: Beyond Freud and onto the final set of essays on power and non-verbal communication.  Think I shall go and prep dinner, pop it in the oven and then have a last hour working on these before calling it a day.
  • 6.30 pm: These essays are more enjoyable than the Freud one.  Marking one now from a student I had to double check was in my groups; since they never came to a seminar I taught!  No, they are one of mine. Damn, have to mark it – but extra carefully!
  • 7.05 pm: Okay, 7 more to go – they’ll have to wait for the morning.  But at least these last batch are fairly readable and engaging again!

Tuesday

Okay, not many to go, but suspect this’ll be my entire morning.

  • 9.15 am: Exchange emails about moderation, discover two invites in my mail (one to a conference, one to participate in some research). Will have to come back to those later.
  • 9.25 am: Open up all the files and programs…and on with the marking.
  • 10.06 am: These are certainly easier to read and mark, generally good and just had one excellent one.  Not sure if the topic is more engaging for the students, or the question’s easier – they just seem to get it more.
  • 10.14 am: Oh dear, another essay sans references.  How obvious could we have made this bit?  It’s actually on the marking sheet as one of the 5 criteria the students are marked on.  Sigh.
  • 11:16 am: Let joy be unrestrained…I’ve opened the last essay to mark.
  • 11.40 am: Done.  Now just to moderate my high/low scores, and pass them to Colin the course leader for his opinions.
  • 12.15 pm: Moderating Colin’s marking…there are some terrible essays here, which really make me pleased how many of my students produced excellent pieces of work!
  • 12.22 pm: Done.  Just have to wait on the moderators comments, and then the admin to sort out and no more marking for me this year.  Huzzah!

Rather lost the will after lunch, as I had to go out to an appointment.  And then paid a visit to campus to drop off the all important annual report form for marking.  The Wife came along for the ride, and so met my 2nd supervisor, which was nice.  Did discover my actual Director of Studies had buggered off to Germany which makes getting a signature out of him somewhat academic now – hope the Grad School will accept an email from him!

Then I got stuck on campus for 30 minutes as the power to the site went down, locking all the car exit gates! Sheesh.

Wednesday

More moderation today for Kornelia, as i appear to have turned into Mr Moderator for the whole course.  Don’t mind, as she and I have been mutually supporting each other throughout the past year on this course.  Today though was also the day I drew out my chapter on the history of open access in the UK, and started to hack at it.  Been away from it with other pressing concerns too long so it’s going to be a long hard struggle I suspect, and first impressions are that it needs a lot more work than I thought.  Beginning to think the end of the month might be a tricky target to get this one ready by.

Thursday

More editing – although not helped by the fact that I had a dreadful night’s sleep and spent the entire day feeling like I had needles sticking in my eyes.  Mrs Llama worked at home in the afternoon and made me go and sit in the garden for a while over lunch and enjoy the outside world.  That helped a bit, and I made some progress – even if it felt like I kept re-editing the same two pages over and over again.  Stressing about this chapter a lot, which is slowing the writing down.  Most of the day spent trying to write short pieces about who the key players and organisations in the development of OA in the UK is.  Bound to have missed some people I suspect, whom I hope won’t hunt me down and punish me!

And no, didn’t include myself in the list!  Sheesh, self-aggrandising much?

Friday

Having been asleep for nearly 12hrs last night (went to bed before 8pm) I felt a whole lot more human.  A lot more editing today, mostly about funders’ OA policies which required a bit of background research.  Chapter looking a whole lot better as a result – but I’ve still a page of suggested additions I need to look at next week.  Which could be tricky as I need to write a conference paper, and also make a day trip to Cambridge on Tuesday, which cuts down the hours I can devote to it.  Have to pop into the Uni as well to finally hand in my annual review.  Which may end in a punch up between me and the staff if they don’t bloody accept it.

Also, just to round out the week, moderated Tao’s essays as well.  Which means by my calculations I’ve moderated pretty much all bar one person’s papers this time.  Boy oh boy do I wish they paid me for this bit.  But it does mean it’s the end of the marking lark.  And time to collapse into a warm gin now.

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