Organisation - August 26, 2010



Letter to the editor: Magazine #1 26 August 2010
Monday morning on August 17. Just returned from a vacation, I start to print the attendance lists for the re-examinations on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning. For the fourteen candidates on Tuesday, the examination has been set; the only work left is to make some photocopies. On Wednesday, there will be one candidate only. I look at who that is and set a tailor-made examination.

My email box has 135 unread messages.  Two of these are from students who want to sign up for the examination on Tuesday, claiming that registering centrally has failed. Alright, there will be sixteen candidates then. After attending a meeting elsewhere, I log in again at 5 pm. There are two messages from students who want to pull out of the examination on Tuesday. I tick them off on the list. Next, two other students mail to cancel their attendance. But their names aren't even on the list! I tell them this in a reply. One of them gives no subsequent answer; the other insists that she has registered months ago. She writes: 'I want to withdraw from Tuesday, but not from Wednesday.' But she's not on the list for the Wednesday examination either. The tailor-made examination is not suitable for her. What now? Within ten minutes, her boyfriend mails. Two of a kind. I'm getting fed up.
Tuesday morning on August 18. I should log in briefly. There is a last withdrawal via the email. That's it. Time for the examination to begin. Eleven candidates entered. Two have failed to turn up, but have not sent any withdrawal notices. One candidate is late, as expected; she has requested for the delay a month ago. To give this student the usual three hours, I've postponed my subsequent appointment to 13:00 hours. This late candidate arrived joyfully at 9:40 hours and left the room an hour later with a beam on her face. 'I haven't prepared well for this after all; I'll take the test again later.' When the examination ends, I have to wait an hour for my next appointment.
In the afternoon, I get mail from a candidate who hasn't shown up: 'I confused Tuesday with Thursday, possibly because of my dyslexia. May I still take the examination?'
No formal registrations, but withdrawals at the eleventh hour. Requests for a later start, but comes unprepared. No show, but no cancellation either. Unnecessary mails, unnecessary waiting time. To think that all these take place shamelessly. My experience puts these down to the usual examination preparation work for a lecturer. Time for a change, I say. Lecturers shouldn't be treated in this way.
Examination committees, CSA, education directors, Pim Brascamp, what can we do about this?/Imke de Boer, Animal Production Systems Group