Saturday, 10 December 2016




The location is of course at the computer lab, where else could it be? The atmosphere is tense and chilly, because the poor students are sitting for their final exams, in order to qualify for the award of a Diploma in Information Communication Technology and of course to proof to the world that they have a technologically compliant brain.

In the event that you happen to be an invigilator, with a little knowledge of ICT, then you must prepare for some quite entertaining drama.

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Of course there will be questions testing on basic knowledge of Microsoft office. These may not present much problems, other than slow typing speeds among individual students and the failure to follow the specified formatting instructions, so no need to dwell on that.

The heart of the problem lies with Microsoft Access, Excel and PowerPoint presentation. Microsoft access for example may require students to create a database for a hospital or school. This can be mind boggling for an unprepared student. Excel on the other hand requires students to make use of some formulas to perform certain calculations. This can be a turn off especially to those students to whom mathematics is not their cup of tea.

PowerPoint is a mixture of simplicity and confusion. Thanks to anxiety and misunderstanding, you will find a student using Microsoft word to answer questions requiring them to prepare a power point presentation. This to the teacher who taught them, can be embarrassing enough to make them hide for weeks. The consolation is that the teacher is usually not allowed anywhere near the exam room.

Such students usually end up just drawing boxes and typing the text in them, in the name of preparing slides for power point presentation. Tell me if that is not the peak of ignorance. To add salt to injury, the ignorant student will then smile, satisfied that he or she has answered the question satisfactorily.

But then, there are those students who are not ignorant. They usually know when they have messed up in a particular question, but instead of doing something about it, they cry! Yes they do. As an invigilator you cannot do anything about it, but if you are the emotional type, you can fetch your handkerchief and cry along with them. After all didn't the holy book say something about weeping with those who are weeping?

Then there are those who make you proud. They do everything very well and you smile, knowing that someone will get a distinction in their exams, then ------- here comes the spoiler, the horror of all horrors, a blackout, then they discover that they had not saved their work and they have only five minutes left before the exam comes to an end, so what next? weeping and lamentations. 

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