Friday, 25 February 2011

The end of 'the cat ate my memory stick, Sir'

Sometimes ideas just occur to you. There you are, sitting at traffic lights, wondering why they're still red when there's nothing else in sight and even a well-driven Ferrari wouldn't collide with you if you jumped them, and you realise that you've thought of something that you really ought to have thought of years ago. But didn't.

So there I was, similar scene, and there this idea was too. Getting work out of students seems ridiculously difficult. I mean, it's not asking much that they print something each week or write some notes and hand them in, or even keep them for a while and give me stuff maybe once every few weeks. I say it's not asking much but, thinking about it, anything involving a presentation file with more than half a screen print seems to gum up the printing works for a whole lesson and, of course, the next few too until you get someone to clear it or a grey-striped print does eventually emerge. Then there's their own well-honed excuses: no longer do dogs have to eat assignments - we have USBs that can be left at home, break, especially those the College issued at Induction, we have networks that mysteriously lose folders, especially in the early weeks and variations on similarly unlikley catastrophes that no doubt will be covered by parents' Contents Insurance policies before long. That reminds me: I need to upgrade my Public Liability Insurance as I am finding it increasingly difficult to avoid using really quite bad language when such lame excuses are presented, and especially when the printer only does the 'er' bit and forget it has a pretty vital first syllable.

Now I tell everyone about Google Docs and blogs from Week One and some do use them but, and this is the thing, if they all, one lesson soon, simply transfer all their tasks and work in progress to Google Docs or a blog then (i) I would get their stuff automatically without waiting for printers, (ii) I could see how they're actually getting on with tasks (many 'haven'y quite finished, Sir') and (iii) marking is dead easy on-line anywhere I happen to be with no carting folders home when I think I'll have time to mark but don't or leave them at work when I might have.

Blogs, particularly, are great for displaying images and more visual stuff that looks crap in crappy grey-stripe-scale. With units like Digital Graphics and Web production to cover it's virtually essential unless I can persuade Art & Design to be nice to a bunch of lads disturbing them and their nice colour printers every week which I never quite manage to pluck up the courage to suggest aloud.

This is linked to my previous post threatening to 'do' all their assignments and I was thinking where to start. This is a good place. There's nothing very new here at all, folks, I know. Just the determination to do it.

Now, when are those lights going to change?!

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