"MY MIND IS ABSOLUTELY FRIED," wrote Steven Gill in a blog post on the run-up to the winter exams in Tipperary Institute. He explained that he had a cold and that the local environment was treacherous. "The stream next to my house is probably going to flood tonight along with some areas of Old Bridge. My house is a state again and that does not include the large amount of assignments for my “BSc (honours) Degree in IT and Creative Multimedia” to add to the stress levels."
Through Steven's writing, I return to the sanctum of student work. In a blog post, he wrote about "the first of the presentations, which lead the way for the assignments and sub sequentially will guide us towards our exams. It is this junction which defines a student--the crunch time as it were. Many of us have our own techniques and methods for working through this stage, some are just trying to wing it and hope for the best, some have tried and tested skills which present themselves at this crucial stage and they shock the world with their impressive improvements. We all have our own way at the end of the day and hopefully we are all successful."
Here's what interests me more than any other facet: "For some they see this course as a competition. Is it? Should it be?"
Young men and women who work in an academic atmosphere now could end up in productive joint projects within a few years' time. So it pays to learn who can do what best.
Steven sounds like some of the commentary we shared at the start of the semester. "We are all unique and have different abilities, histories and ideas, and we bring these things to the table in our own way. Look out for one another. Some, like a friend of mine, are willing to sit there in silence, not telling their friends that they are stuck on a problem, an assignment, or have external problems. These kinds of things should be shared and discussed between fellow students and teachers. There are solutions available and it only takes a quick word to get the help or support you need to find them."
The ultimate crunch time has arrived in my hands because I have more examination scripts to correct than ever before. I can't get Steven's thoughts out of my mind as I read through the first year exam papers. I've already decided to ensure that I can read words like Steven's in the form of essay answers to first semester Media Writing questions. Why not set a final exam question that asks "What experience and knowledge have you shared in the development of a group idea with your peers?" I am deeply interested in tracking the answer to that question during the next 10 years.
With thanks to Steven M.P. Gill.
Sarah Kessler -- "The case for social media in schools" on Mashable, 29 September 2010.