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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Read, once in a while...

Well, listen AND read (for context, see the previous post).

You have no idea how much this peeves me (well not really, but still). So due to the sheer size of the course, there is a page (on the front of the exam) for students to circle their lecture section to more easily sort exams. Instructions are displayed on the first page of the exam indicating that students must circle a lecture section, and failure to do so will result in lost marks (I think 5 was the case). So not only are instructions explicitly written down, we also do the courtesy to read out those exact instructions.

So during the mid-term exam, while collecting signature forms (basically stating that you were at the exam, and that you are who you claim to be on your photo id), I decided to spend a few seconds for each person and check that they circled their lecture section. About half of the people I checked did not. I'm sure they can do the math; losing 5 marks (on a section of the exam that's worth 20 marks), is a really big deal.

No seriously, we assume you are at least half literate, so READ.

When it came to final exam time, I figured that these people probably know their lessons by now, but I'll still read out this specific set of instructions. And luckily for people who handed in their exams early (of which I could check if they circled, as opposed to everyone rushing to pile in their exams at the end), I caught a few that neglected to circle. I even chased one of the students who was outside the classroom to get him to fill it out.

You may think this isn't a big deal, but there are two major reasons to follow said instructions:
  1. To not lose marks:
    Note that the exam indicates that you'll lose marks (5 in my case), but when we actually mark your exams, somehow, we get too soft and end up only deducting 2. Either way, you still lose out.
  2. Making TA's lives and your lives easier:
    Realise that there are ~1500 exams and TAs need a systematic way to mark them. By writing down your name and lecture section, we can categorize and allocate exams accordingly. In addition, when it comes time to inputting your marks into the system, all the exams are nicely ordered. So if you neglect to write down crucial information, you waste our time attempting to figure out what lecture you belong to and will delay the return of your exams and marks.
So if you can read carefully and follow instructions correctly and write (well legibly, we do try our best to decipher what you write, but try not to give us a hard time doing so...) you are already off to a good start.

I do not own or take credit for all of the above images & videos, if you would like them to be taken down, please contact me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Hope everyone's first week of the year has been a blast so far.

A very late, but happy new year to all you followers and people
that have stumbled on to this blog

So after a long hiatus, I'll be back for the foreseeable future. Feels like it has been 2 years 2 months (high-fives for those that got that reference), but no, it has been just less than a year, but a really jam packed year.

Going back to "2 Years 2 Months", a pathetic reference to FOD's - 2 Years 2 Months for those that remember the song from AuditionSEA (one of my favourite ones, considering the winter season and the incorporation of a variation of Pachelbel's canon). Had a huge trip down memory lane when I stumbled upon an actual functioning site that archived all the old songs from SEA and KOR (and still is updated with all the new stuff). Also taking a second to pay my respects to xeanz, a site that has seemingly disappeared without a trace. Kudos to Veiss for running it as long as he could, it was also great working with you.

Now back to my "year-in review", which will be spread out through many future posts and at random times of the year.

I guess this is a good time to talk about it since a lot of people are starting school again, but I'd like to share with you my experience being a TA (teaching assistant).
A quick disclaimer to cover my butt so I don't get into legal trouble or whatnot: The words, views and opinions expressed on this site DO NOT represent the view and opinions of University of Toronto, the CUPE/Union, and any of the University's employees and staff members and related organizations.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, back to the topic at hand.
TAing, above anything, is an interesting look into the logistics of how those stacks of paper that magically appear on your desk come test time and how that big fat A is spat back out at you.

Not sure how this works for courses that have a small amount of enrollment, but for the course I TAed (~1500 students), we go through a process to sort and divide exams. A tedious, but necessary task since the appropriate amounts of test papers must be allocated through the 10+ classrooms the test papers written in.

Now here's a thing for all you first years out there.
When the TAs or professors say something while you are writing the exam. LISTEN UP.
You have no idea how important this is. There may be an error on the exam paper (blame whoever wrote them), or special instructions or even dictating instructions that are on the first pages of your exam.

More of my banter and ranting on this topic for my next post. So stay tuned folks, and I hope to see y'all in the very near future.

I do not own or take credit for all of the above images & videos, if you would like them to be taken down, please contact me.