Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Online school is odd.

I thought I would feel pressured to get my school work done in the little free time I have (between reading blogs and posting to blogs, that is), but when I saw the first assignment was due two weeks after the start of the class, I thought, hmm...maybe this won't be so bad after all.

In order to not feel super confident, I never looked at the assignment that's due next week. I wanted to have this kind of shock: ohmygodwhydidItakethisdangonlineclass. Because when I saw how long the syllabus was, that's how I felt.

I've been managing my time, slowly doing what I need to do, planning for this weekend to do that super tough assignment I know is ahead of me, but last night I realized I only had two things left: Post on the discussion board and work on the assignment.

Posting on the discussion board for each module is a requirement and we do get graded on our participation. According to the instructions, I was to post on the discussion board before working on the assignment.

Let me tell you all a secret: No matter what the subject is and no matter how carefully I try to play nice on discussion boards, I always end up either 1. ignored completely, even if I post comments and ask questions and try to be thoughtful, or 2. people hate me.

We have a discussion board of sorts at work, and I always have to check with someone else before I post something (unless I really know what I'm talking about and I'm not just being emotional), so I don't come off like an idiot or make my boss look bad or get attacked. I try to keep it all business, but there were a few times I had to go there and say what I felt. So far I haven't received any weird voicemail messages, and if you don't think I haven't, you have another thing coming to you.

Anyway. So I tried to follow the instructions, went to the discussion board, saw no one else had posted a single question or thought, stared at the space where I could start posting my thoughts, but then realized, what thoughts do I have about the 8 parts of speech or noun/verb agreement? I mean, really, unless the teacher posts a very open-ended question, how are we expected to discuss these things?

Based on the introductions posted by the other students, we have a lot of flappy windbags in the class, so I'm really hesitant posting some goofy comment just so I can get credit and then have a flappy windbag attack me with his/her ruminations on my stupid comment that I only posted so I could get some credit.

Seriously, the only thing I can think of posting is I find it interesting that I seem to learn more and more as I get older because the subject isn't new to me, however, I have learned a lot of new things. But is that really discussing the content or just me discussing my brain development?

Needless to say, I skipped this part - for now. I went ahead, broke the rules (and I so don't like breaking them rules), and downloaded the assignment for the first module. My fears of it being this horrendous monster of an editing task or that we had to write a well-developed and well-researched essay on the philosophy of grammar soon diminished. It was merely a 3-page quick editing assignment that pretty much mirrored the ones we had to do online.

I'm already done with the first page.

I like to savor things, so I'm going to work on page 2 maybe tomorrow and then page 3 on Saturday while Mateo watches his morning kid shows. And then turn in my assignment on Sunday, which will make it 3 days early.

So what I found odd is the nature of forced discussions. If it was a classroom setting, most people would be sitting there with the "don't call on me" face on, hoping we could get out early. I just hope a flappy windbag pipes up before I have to, so I can comment on the flappy windbag's comment instead of vice versa.

Today I find myself in a real classroom setting, learning Adobe Photoshop, however, since I like to be early, I got the best seat in the house, which is away from everyone else so I can sneak on the internet throughout the day to see what's going on in the world. And, since I was so early, no one witnessed me dumping some of my coffee all over the desk. Now the teacher has no tissues in his/her tissue box.


Goldfish said...

I hate (and I do mean hate) online discussion boards for classes. I actually did really poorly in a class once because I just couldn't play along. (That professor showed me!) They are incredible artificial. And I'm always coming from a different place than, say, everyone else....

Kmommy said...

Ugh, the online discussion thing sucks. I took one class during my MA program where once a week we would meet "online" and have a threaded discussion. It was a little crazy. I would definitely wait until someone else posts something. It would be nice to have a question though - that would be more thought provoking. I also hate those general wide open questions.
I was actually looking at some online programs, if you don't mind my asking, which one are you doing? If you do not want to post it for privacy reasons, you could email a response. I'm really interested to find out how your whole experience goes. If I do any more schooling it will have to be online, as the closest college around here is at least 1 1/2 hours away.

lil miss hissyfit said...

Youe lie right? Seriously you're a blogger you have internet and tech savvy friends, We can teach you how to use photoshop in less time and for less money than whatever your classes cost.

Hurrah for getting there early though , not so much on the coffee spilling.

I third the whole online discussion board thing for classes. It never works out ever though I wish you the best of luck. Not sure how you're supposed to talk about that particular subject in any meaningful way either.

Nut Nut said...

No, no, I surely am not lying. Call me Bob if I am.

My work is paying for it, otherwise I wouldn't be taking it (waaaay too much money for this chicky). And I have used tons of free tutorials to figure out things (I'm an Illustrator gal, Photoshop was confusing me and it was taking me too long to do one simple thing), plus my work pays for a monthly subscription to, plus I can buy books up the wazoo if I give a good reason for it (however, I tend to go to the web first). So when your boss says, "I would love you to take a class, I have too much training money," then I'm on it like...hate to be generic, fly on fly paper.

I'm a learning junky. But I'm also self-taught for most things.

As an update to the discussion board, no one has been brave enough to post a comment as of last night.