September 30, 2004

A blog first--Liveblogging my test!!

I'm about to give a test to my Public Administration class. I just reallized that the room I use has a computer and broadband. Usually I sit around and read a book during tests, today I'm going to live blog the test. Come back and experience the fear and loathing that is a midterm exam at a small regional public university in an upper level class. What strange sounds will be heard coming out of students' clenched teeth? Will the air conditioning mask the nervous sweat dripping off their forehads and soaking their clothes? Which student will be first to finish: Student A, the over-achieving poli-sci major with law school aspirations; or Student B, the football playing PE major who needed a Social Science elective and had an advisor who had not yet learned of Dr. Rusty Shackleford's reputation? All this and more to be revealed in the world's first test live blog! Test begins at 12:10 EDT. Be there or risk the ever dreadful MAKE-UP TEST BLOG POST!

12:15: Handed out tests. It turns out that the upper division poli sci class before mine also had a test today. Students pissed that they had to study for two tests on the same day. I feel for them, I just don't care. Also, the Prof. caught someone cheating. How does one cheat on an essay exam with blue books handed out by the Prof?? Don't know. I'm on heightened security alert. Code Orange!

Live blogging continues below.

12:20: Why is it that some students think they ought to shout out all their questions, even during a test? Yes, that should read a) b) c) d), not a) c) b) d)!!!

12:25:In every class there is a smart ass who thinks they have an in with the teacher. They think that being a smart ass is cute, and that I find them funny. I don't. During a test the smart ass invariably reads each question, looks at the Prof, and then gets some kind of look on their face. If the question is hard, they grimace. If there is something funny in the question, they laugh out loud and shake their heads. Man, just take the test already!!!

12:30: My money is on the overachiever finishing first. Since an essay question is involved, overachievers usually can pound those out pretty fast. Slackers tend to finish Scantron tests earlier--the choose 'c' when in doubt method of test-taking applies here. The test I gave out has 25 multiple choice questions, but the rest are short answer and essay. Note on live-blogging from class: make sure your keyboard is reasonably quiet. The one in this room is pretty loud.

12:35: Just made the proctoring rounds. One student gives me the thumbs up and whispers "good test". By good I take it to mean easy.

12:40: Four students finished. Too quick. Test must be too easy. Either that, or they failed miserably. I doubt that, though. Three of four early finishers are women. My experience is that women are better test takers, smarter, and usually harder working than their male counterparts. We'll see.

12:42 Here are the bonus question. Yeah, bonus questions are a cop-out, but hey, they're usually fun and often relevenat:

1) Who is the Attorney General?
2)Who is the Sec State?
3) Who is the Sec Defense?
4? Who is Mr. Burns' executive assistant? (Yes, that Mr. Burns)
5) Who is the Principal of South Park Elementary?

12:45: Did you get all the bonus q's right? The way I rationalize this is they are all famous Public Administrators.

12:46: One very pissed off student just left the room. Seriously. And it was my smart-ass!!

12:48: The herd is thinning. As seats begin to empty you can see theh looks on students' faces more clearly. Some are intnse, others are perfect poker-players. One of them looks kind of confused, he fiddles with his pen. Banging the pen on hand. Pen against forehead. In mouth. Clicking on teeth. Are the qeustions really that hard?

12:51: Every large class has the flirter. The girl who has used her looks to get through life. Flirters are usually super-sweet, but they can get annoying after awhile. Take the flirter in this class. Nice girl, moderately smart. But do they really believe their flirtation will help their grade? Not on my watch, baby!! She keeps looking up, trying to make eye-contact. Nope. Not falling for it. Rusty is taken.

12:55: Last two students getting up, same time. Test over already? Wow, that went fast. Do I go downstairs, back to my office? If I do that the inevitable will happen. A student will show up in the next half an hour asking if the test is graded. Relax. Rusty has other things going on in his life--like blogging! Then they will ask when the tests will be ready. Not yet, geeze.

12:57: You have just been a part of the world's first live-blogging of a midterm exam. Hope you weren't disappointed. Many years from now, as you eek off a meeger existence from the defunct Social Security system, you may tell your grandchildren, as you share your meager portion of Cat Chow, how you were there the day history was made. You were there, the day Rusty Shackleford went where no other blogger had dared to go. Oh, the triumph!!

Ok, but seriously, the test did go a lot faster than normal. I just hope this doesn't inspire other ludicrous live-blogging events. For instance, live-blogging your intimate encounters--not a good idea. This goes double if your name happens to be Andrew Sullivan.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:56 AM | Comments |