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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Friday 20 June 2003 (Day View) – Exam – COMP1500 and COMP1501 confrontation

20.06.2003Friday 20 June – Introduction to Programming Exam and Internet Interface Design confrontation

I had my Introduction to Programming/Software Engineering exam today. I also made my first, and hopefully last, complaint about a course.
What I wanted
I want personal feedback including the criteria used and justification of my result. I want to know how many people marked the assignments, and if one or more of those who marked them gave inconsistent results, and if so, a full and fair remark – free of bias, and if not, what efforts were made to cross-mark or normalize personal marking differences between markers. The criteria with which we will be assessed must be made available before the assessment. The criterion that we were given to do our assignment is not the same as that used to assess the assignment. Therefore, my, along with everyone else’s, assignment was completed to meet different criterion than that with which it was marked. I believe this is unfair and against university policy; and I wish to know what Kevin thinks on this matter. I want to know why some assignments that appear to have met most or all of the criteria have achieved marks well below others that appear to have met fewer of the criteria – or to put that simply, I want to know why crap sites often got better marks than good ones. The results just seem unfair, biased and wrong to me. I want to know why, and getting feedback to see exactly how my site got the marks it did is the first step in answering this.
I’m outside the building formerly known as Computer Science, waiting for anyone to turn up. I walk around to another entrance and meet two guys from the #BITS IRC channel there. We walk around to the main entrance and meet another #BITS boy. We wait for a few minutes and then make our way up to the seventh floor and to Kevin’s office. It takes us 15 minutes to see Kevin, during which time a few more students turn up, around 10 in all. Chesapeake (as he’s known in #BITS) and I appear to have the most confidence and became de facto ringleaders, which also means we’re the first into Kevin’s office and get the two seats there. The rest of the entourage troop in and place themselves awkwardly around the wall. I don’t think they felt too comfortable and, with the exception of one girl – Sam, they mostly listened. We started out with a discussion of the upcoming exam – this was, after all, an exam consultation, and then brought up the subject of Assignment 2. Chesapeake talked – lots, and I handed Kevin a printed statement of my demands. I almost felt sorry for him as I handed it to him. His face was a picture. I think he was expecting some sort of unorganised rabble, which based on what’s been going on in the newsgroup would be what I’d have expected as well. I don’t think he was expecting a well-written and courteous demand, complete with the relevant sections of the university policies and procedures. We spent a little over an hour talking, with Chesapeake, Sam and I doing the majority of the talking. Chesapeake seemed content with Kevin’s replies, whereas Sam and I would rather have taken a somewhat stricter stance. She wants the course converted to pass/fail, as do I, although I believe this wouldn’t be practical. Many people had been making grand threats of seeing the lecturer or some head of department to complain, but, as is often the case, it still takes someone to take the initiative before anything will happen. A notice in the course newsgroup and some discussion in the #BITS channel seemed to be enough to achieve the required critical mass. I’m glad I received the support that I did from the other students who came along, although I can now see some advantages in going alone or with just a few people. More than a few times Chesapeake and the others (except for Sam, who seems to hold the same views on this as I do) readily agreed on matters that I would have preferred to have pursued further. Nevertheless, all of us turning up like that definitely made the statement that we were trying to make.
What I got
Any student may request feedback and a remark (with the risk that your marks may go down), however a deadline of 27 June has been set – after which no more requests for remarking will be accepted. Apparently, three people, including Kevin, marked assignment two. Kevin admitted there was clear bias, and that one marker had returned results that were noticeably below the other results. Some or all of these results were adjusted upwards in an attempt to normalize them against the results returned by the other two markers, and Kevin remarked some of these. All markers were supposed to fill in the feedback sheet for each student, however apparently only Kevin did. Kevin acknowledged that we were not given clear criteria showing the marks allocated for each criterion, however there is not much that can be done about that now. He also stated that he has been particularly lenient in an attempt to offset some of the problems – particularly those experienced by people who may not have had any or much experience with HTML or PHP. Essentially, Kevin admitted that results have been unfair, biased and wrong – and that he is aware of the shortcomings and problems and is attempting to rectify what he can. Students must request a remark before 27 June or their current results will stand. While I am not happy with the biased results that we’re stuck with – I don’t really see any practical solution this late in the course. The one issue that was not addressed, that I believe ideally should have been, is that some assignments seem to have achieved too high a result, unfairly disadvantaging those who deserved a higher result and skewing the results – but it’s clearly unfair to lower already released marks unless that student requests a reassessment. I believe that this concludes the assignment two saga, although I’d still like to see the course converted to pass/fail – the fairest thing to do in my opinion.
I went down to the labs and talked to Silas. The first year labs are closed for the holidays, so unless someone lets me in and logs me on in one of the other labs, I can’t access a computer.
I left my bag outside the UQ Exhibition Centre and took my numbered card to my numbered seat for my Introduction to Programming/Software Engineering exam. It was somewhat confusing, as I had thought the exam was two hours long, but it said one hour on the front. It consisted of twenty multiple-choice questions, with five choices per question. I hadn’t bothered to study as I felt that the exam would be easy. I guess working the sample exam would have been a good idea, but I hadn’t bothered to do that either. I did have a quick look at it, but that’s all. Not surprisingly, the exam was much harder than I was expecting – although I believe I did reasonably well. I finished about a third of the exam in the fifteen minute perusal time, and spent the next forty minutes or so checking over my answers and attempting the more complex questions. I ended up with three questions that I could only narrow down to two choices each, so took the best guess of the two for each. I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling that within the last fifteen minutes of exam time I wouldn’t be allowed to leave, so I left just before.
I went up to Silas’s and spent a few hours there. Tim went to an aboriginal disco for his school, and Ben, one of his son’s, came over and we had what could best be described as an amusing “humour session”.
On the train on the way home, there were three rather drunk youth, two of which needed to urinate – rather urgently. One found a plastic soft drink bottle, which satisfied his desire, much to the mirth of the rest of the carriage, and the other desperately hung on for a few more stations while everyone made jokes about drinking water, swimming in heated pools and such. Eventually he decided that it would be better to urinate in the train than in his pants, but just as he was about to perform the wicked deed, over the loudspeakers came “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You’re on camera”. Needless to say, the rest of the carriage erupted into laughter, while the poor boy was rather shocked. I believe it helped him to hold on for a few more stations though, along with the security guards who turned up, talked, and joked with us. It was an amusing train trip, and I found out that the cameras do actually work, and according to the security fellas, they’re quite good – able to zoom in and move around. Incidents like this break the ice between strangers and reassure me that there is still hope for humanity.
Comment by Sam – Sunday 22 June 2003, 1:16 AM
  So what happened to the softdrink bottle?
Comment by Ned – Sunday 22 June 2003, 1:20 AM
  It achieved a velocity great enough to overcome gravity for several metres, losing this only after colliding with the ground outside a train station that will remain unnamed because I can’t remember the name...
Comment by Tim – Monday 23 June 2003, 4:41 PM
  Wow, I didnt know the 1st year IT student union kicked kevins ass LOL. Sorry I missed it.
Comment by Your mum – Friday 27 June 2003, 9:59 AM
  ure such a geeben
Comment by eddie (adelaide) – Saturday 28 June 2003, 11:55 PM
  you have a wicked life man, what colour is your wee? when you cut your toenails do you do right foot or left foot first? have you ever seen a turle? you should include interesting stuff like that on your site
Comment by Bon – Wednesday 17 September 2003, 1:22 AM
  Ah, I never knew other students at UQ had such interesting lives... either that or I just don't catch the train often enough ^^'' Pity I wasn't around to see you take on the authority *grin*
Comment by Filthy – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:23 AM
  Did you drink the wee? At least it was fresh.
Comment by sesso – Wednesday 20 December 2006, 4:24 PM
  Soddisfare emozionante. Siete buoni a fotoricettore-progettate!

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