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.]

Grad school Pt. 3

That paper that kicked my ass last weekend…I’m relieved to find that my instructor did find that I strayed off-topic and didn’t directly answer the prompt. 94.

First three weeks of online discussion participation…which I do think I sucked at, but my definition of suck is apparently getting 100.

And then there was the first assignment I got the 100 on.

So I’ve got a 97 going after 3 weeks.

I don’t need to try harder.

Meanwhile, a three-month process which found me looking into a significant employee change came to a conclusion today. There will be no change. To quote a friend, this whole situation was “really f*cking goofy.” Oh, sorry friend, that wasn’t the exact quote. Ive embellished.

One consequence of that goofy situation dragging out for three #*($()*#$ months was that I had to make a decision about grad school without knowing how that goofy situation was going to play out. In light of the goofy’s situation’s resolution, I think I’ve made the right call with this grad school thing…for now.

Grad School

1:01AM Ok, let’s do this in 5 minutes. I don’t have time. Grad school is kicking my ass. Yes, grad school. Technically, I’ve been enrolled for over a year. I was accepted a year-and-a-half ago. But I procrastinated. I questioned the value of the program. I questioned everything. But I started taking this class three weeks ago. It’s an online class on the American health care system. It’s part of an online masters program in… well, I’m sensitive to be googlable. So let’s say it’s just a fancy term for IT in health care. It’s through a continuous studies school at… (and I spent a year-and-a-half…well, shoot, two years, more than two years…pondering if such a program has any value…is it a “real” grad program…because I am cursed to have known so many “real” grad students, and live amongst them now so close to the Gothic Wunderland)…anyway, it’s through the purple school that one of Coach K’s assistants left Duke for. Yeah, that school.

Anyway, it’s kicking my ass. No free time. I don’t know how to be a student.

And my 5 minutes is up. I’ll write some more about this soon, perhaps.