Grad school Part 2.1

GradesIt might be fascinating to chronicle what it’s like to take an online graduate course from a continuing studies school of a well-respected university. I doubt anyone has done this, as I certainly didn’t find anything along these lines when I was trying to decide for a year-and-a-half whether I should actually make a go at this program. But I’m not the one to do that. Obviously, I didn’t write much of anything about the last course I took, and I don’t have the time to do so now. I figured I should get some writing in. Perhaps I’ll say more than I’m intending to right now. I never quite know what I’m going to write about when I start typing.

Quick review of that first course. My final grade was a 98. What does that even mean? I don’t look at that number with a whole lot of pride. Seriously. I don’t know what the grade distribution was, and I know damn well I slacked off in the second half, during which my grade actually went up. I did put a great deal of time into that class, so I suppose it’s hard to say what grade I would’ve received otherwise. But I put in a lot of time because I delve off-topic and take a long time to synthesize what I’m trying to say. I do a poor job of writing conceptually. That’s the best way I know how to say that. It’s true at work, too. I take forever to compose an email. I take forever to compose one sentence of a paper. I’m glad I’m doing *this* right now because I’m taking about 20 seconds to compose each sentence. My mind is in desperate need of this. Anyway, so, I don’t know what that grade means. The important thing is, did I get anything out of the class? Did I learn anything? Certainly. I have a much better understanding of…oh, oops…yeah, I wasn’t going to mention anything specific about this program. I can have a more intelligent conversation with someone about the topic. I generally feel good about what I learned.

But I hate the format. I hate the asynchronous online learning modality. The optional sync sessions are bullshit. The discussion forums are bullshit. Online learning may be giving a lot more people access to higher education, but I can’t see how it can ever be a more enriching experience than face-to-face interaction. Then again, this is asynchronous. I work with synchronous video technologies in my job everyday. Video calls. Video conferencing in high-definition. It’s not hard. I don’t understand for the life of me why an online program, particularly an online graduate-level program through a prestigious university, can’t bother to use easily available technology to deliver something to superior to what the offer now.

And it’s friggin experience. Student loans. I don’t want these. But it’s either student loans or get my employer to reimburse for tuition. I tried. I didn’t push for the first quarter, because I wasn’t sure I’d still be with my current employer by the end of the quarter. I tried for this quarter, though. I drew up a plan of how I’d utilize the degree where I’m at, and I was even a little excited about it! I never know what I want to do with my life, but this plan is a bit inspired. But…re-orgs. Funding issues. I don’t have the core skills that make my company run. They’re not investing in me. I just found this out a few days ago.

My motivation for my job and my schoolwork is pretty low at the moment.

My second course officially began on Monday. I’m already quite behind. Last quarter, I would generally take off Mondays and Tuesdays. That’s fine as long as I pick up the pace on Wednesday and Thursday. I can’t say I’ve done that quite yet, although orienting myself to the course and filling out my discussion forum introduction were necessary steps.

I’ve got other topics to write about before I head off to sleep, so I need to end this post. More another time, perhaps.

[Meta-blogging note: this 3-column theme is awful. If I’m going to be writing more than 25 words, the width has to be greater. I don’t need that 3rd column. No time to bother with this now.]

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