December 16, 2013 Oliver Knill

Final exam day. Our exam looks great. Thanks to all the work of the team on the 21a exam, this final will be no problem to administer, even so we have almost 400 students. So we thought. Its a nice day. There is still some snow on the streets while biking in. At 9:20 I lock my bike near the science center. A guard informs me that the building is closed due to a bomb threat. I go to LISE to stay close and wait.

I send information by emails to the class and twitter. Many students are in Annenberg, others in their dorms. Some have their stuff locked in other buildings. It looks improbable at this time that the exam will take place in the afternoon. The science center is still closed at 1:30 PM, no news until 1:46, when the information reaches me that the exam takes place with changed exam rooms.

The 400 printed exam booklets with 30 pages each are still in my office which of course is off limit. With my laptop being able to connect to my office machine, I prepare and email the exam again to Flashprint at 1:47 PM who can miraculously print on a short notice and deliver to Yenching auditorium and Geological lecture hall. We start at 2:45. The Crimson tweets: "With exam papers stuck in Science Center, Math 21a staff forced to reprint hundreds of exams; students still waiting to begin 2 PM exam." The exam goes well. All but 5 of the 380 students take the exam. Some have to cut it short, because they have to catch flights or an other exam in the evening. After the exam, we all grade it in the reopened science center. We finish at about 11 PM, fed by two Pizza deliveries.

I'm thankful to the department which pushed behind the scenes for going ahead with the exam. Thanks to Flashprint who could print thousands of pages in a flash. Impressive how fast the reorganisation was done in a fluid environment; and how calm and reasonable most students stayed. The newly scheduled "out of sequence exams" went well on Tuesday thanks to the efforts and overnight work of the exam office.

Lessons to be learned


[Update, December 17:] Update of 3 AM
[Update, December 17:] Student charged.
[Update, December 18:] C+ in cyber security (Slate)