The End of an Era 6


This week I’ve been throwing a few things from my office away: stuff, mainly student assignments, that I don’t need to keep anymore.

I’m what they call a senior lecturer here in the UK, according to Wikipedia that’s an ‘associate professor’ elsewhere, and for that reason I’m involved in marking student work. Old assignments used to get stored centrally, but a few  years ago management decided that we should store them in our office1. We only need to keep them for a few years, then we can get rid of them. During my clear out session I came across some of the last type written feedback sheets I made.

Yes, the assignment is to programme a pencil museum (using PHP, AJAX and MySQL). Parts are pixelated for privacy

Our feedback sheets used to be spaced just right for typewriters2 and used carbonless copy paper. They have since been replaced with new feedback sheets that don’t leave space for feedback.

The real feedback is on the pages with code, this is just for the cover page

To celebrate the end of the typewriter friendly era in my place of work I thought I show you how these sheets looked like (cropped for privacy reasons). I sometimes used them with a portable typewriter I bought second hand in the 1980s, but most times feedback was handwritten.

  1. You might think that means we have less space, but management also took our printers and our waste bins away, so that gave as a cubic metre of extra space back. []
  2. but unfortunately no one else I knew seemed to make use of this feature, or if they did it was before my time, i.e. before I joined in 2001. []

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6 thoughts on “The End of an Era

  • Matthias

    Thank you for your kind comment. It’s nice to hear the blog would be missed. Despite the interest from readers of this blog going down (there used to be 50% more readers) my interest in posting here is still very strong.

  • Koralatov

    I remember these ‘carbonless’ forms from my Uni days. I liked them; they were a nice little ‘memento’ from each class. The tutors didn’t much care for them because they mostly hand-wrote them and the amount of force required to get a good impression on all three copies — yellow, blue, and pink — was high. Hand-cramps were common.

    One tutor did the same as you and used a typewriter (electric, in his case). He always told his colleagues to do the same, but none of them followed suit. They continued leaning onto their ballpoints to produce legible copies.

  • Koralatov

    PS. I did initially have the same thought as Amro. I’m glad to hear the blog isn’t going anywhere — it’s one of my favourite blogs.

    Sorry to hear the readership has declined. Is that due to Google Reader’s closure? I read far fewer blogs since it closed. It got me out of the habit of RSS and thus blog-reading as a large part of my online reading.

  • Matthias Post author

    Koralatov, thank you for your comment.
    Ours need a lot of force, too, despite only making one copy form the original. That’s why I used 4H pencils on them 8^)
    Sorry for the shocking title, I should be more carful. I will change the title of an upcoming blog post from “I Give Up” to “Dear uni-ball, I Give Up” to avoid confusion (I give up on their Signo TSI, not on the blog).
    BTW, the next handicraft post is about the black leather envelope for letters that you sent me.
    I’m not sure why the numbers are down. I assume it is partly because people seem spend more time on Instagram and Facebook groups, which are more interactive than reading blog posts and writing comments.

  • Koralatov

    I think that’s definitely a better title — less opportunity for panicked misreading!

    I don’t have a Facebook or Instagram account, so can’t comment on that. It’s sad to see everyone moving into these siloes owned by big companies. I’ve read plenty of nightmare stories of people’s groups on these platforms being closed without any real explanation or ability to appeal.

    I’m grateful that you continue to work out in the open. Part of the strength of stationery blogging in the past was that anyone could do it and authors and readers weren’t beholden to the whims of big companies.

    I’m looking forward to your next handicraft post. I really enjoyed your ‘Memmo Pouch’ post.