Lost in Marks

For the past month now, I've been engaged in an exercise in marking scripts as an external examiner. I can't say more than that as I am contractually obliged to observe strict confidentiality, but I wanted to share some of the experience. The first is that the marking happens remotely, using a remarkable piece of software that has eliminated the paper from the equation. This has many advantages, especially for me; I've been doing work in cyberspace for the past 12 years or so and am a real fan of computerized, internet everything (even though I still love physical books). As a teacher and former bureaucrat I have seen enough paper to last me forever, and anything that helps me move away from my memories of government offices which are no more than caves made of buff-coloured files stacked above any normal person's head makes me happy. There are disadvantages, such as when everybody's marking at the same time and connectivity slows to a crawl; there was one day I gave up in disgust. But on the whole, the experience has made the experience more flexible and efficient, at least from my perspective. I type faster than I write longhand, which is a help.But for the past month, too, I've been off the grid because of this obligation. I've fluffed deadlines and ducked meetings (I'm normally not too AWFUL about either, though I'm sure Nicholas Laughlin would fundamentally disagree) and have only just been able to save the journal tongues of the ocean from disappearing into oblivion by working over-overtime. Shakespeare in Paradise is coming up and that has its own set of obligations. My life is full and it will only work if I get super-organized. I'm working on that; I've got a home office from which I work now and that helps a little.If anybody wants to know where else my brain has been going besides marking exams, they can follow my twitter feed (@nicobet). I find the 140 characters liberating when I'm snowed under with too much stuff and I also find that some of my best cyberdiscussions are taking place in twitterspace, so if you're interested, go check them out.And for now, ciao.