Hard-ass teacher

Well we’re back!

In case you didn’t notice, Bitterblogwas not available for a day or so while my good friend PhreakiBoi switched ISPs; it took a while for the new internet address to propagate through the system. Today I got a 1.7 second round-trip time for packets from Bitterjug.com to Holy Rosary College and back, thats nearly half what I reported before, but it depends a lot on how busy the network is here. If you — dear reader — notice any changes, good or bad, with the service on this site since the change, please leave a comment and let us know.

This brings me to the subject of networks. Today there was an exam going on in the lab. I was asked by my colleague, who had set the exam going, if I would be around in the lab as, technically, our students may not be there without supervision (because they sometimes visit unsavory, or pherhaps too savory, sites). By the time I had finished with my own classroom-based test it was chaos in the lab. I have never before seen an on-line exam with five students to each workstation. And more were drifting in as I watched. Cyberspace is the most exciting place to be on a suny saturday afternoon at HRC. I decided to get strict…

I told them I’d be back in two minutes adn that there should be only one student per computer, and that I would eject anyone who was running anything at all in addition to the on-line exam (the exam, from the Cisco Network Academy, is on line from the Cisco site, not local). Then I walked over to the cybercafe to see how things were over there.
“It’s so slow!” They told me. I wasn’t supprised.
I went back to the lab with another colleague and we evicted the non-exam students and frigntened the rest by actually checking what tasks they had running hidden behind the Explorer window with the exam in. Most had about 5 or 6 browsers open pointing at various sites. While they waited for the next exam questions to arrive, they surfed for … other stuff. And while they waited for their Yahoo mail to open, they surfed for … othe stuff.

Once we terrorised them into working on the exams, improvements in speed were reported from the cybercafe. I spent the rest of today configuring our web filtering software on the bakup server to learn how it works. Or I did until one of the students shutdown the backup server (I was connected to it remotely, not actually sitting at it).

By three o’clock I was tired of being the lab-cop. I sat with the log files for the web proxy (a tool that sits between our students’ computers and the Wicked World Wide Web — and where I propose to introduce the filter soon) scrolling up in a window on my screen. Every now and then I would see “yahoomail.com” or their current favourite: “lifeinred.com”, then I’d go and supprise someone — figuring out who the offender is involves a combination network hacking and body language. They have no motive to complete their exams, the longer they are filling in questions, the longer they can be chatting with the boys at Jomo Kenyatta University with Y! Chat. One repeat offender annoyed me so much I switched off her machine when she refused to leave. I kicked them all out at 3.30.

Right now I’m supposed to be completing a sustainability questionnaire for Sister Pauline but I noticed Bitterjug was back so I’m doing the same thing as my students; goofing off and having fun on the web. What a bastard!

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