Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Supporting students in exams - lessons learnt!

I learnt a lot this week. One lesson that I firmly believe in has been reaffirmed. That you can only really learn by doing and that when a thing goes wrong, it's invariably at the most inconvenient time.

Today is day 2 of a student sitting exams with JAWS. So far so good, no phone calls to tell me it's packed in and collapsed and the student has been hauled off with stress. I'm pleased.

Day 1 involved no crash of equipment either, just a few niggles and they would come when I was in the midst of trying to sort out coffees and teas for a meeting. (How the venue could have thought that it was at 5 and not 3, I don't know, when I had it in writing from them that all would be well at 3!!!)

Yesterday I sat for 2 hours and fiddled around with dear old JAWS and fixed it. I'd say I knew a lot more about it now than I did even 2 days ago.
  • Always have a back-up computer in exams for students sitting them with assistive software
  • Always save work regularly. If you can link it to a server, even better, but transfer to a safe computer and print it out too. You can never be too careful.
  • Reassure people, especially student, and non-familiar IT and college staff, that the world won't collapse if JAWS talks in a slightly odd voice.
  • Work on improving the situation for next year!

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