An Update on School

So here we are, one month in to my new adventure…college. I just finished my second class and have moved right on to the next. No rest for the weary around here.

The first class was a basic introduction to business and wasn’t too difficult in and of itself, but the hardest part was actually figuring out how to study. What and when to take notes. What would work best for note taking? Old school notebooks or keep everything on line? Decisions, decisions, decisions. Time actually was one of the least of my worries. I found I had more time to study than I thought…well as long as you don’t mind dirty dishes and dusty floors.

Then there was navigating the course material. It wasn’t hard, but there was information EVERYWHERE! It was all useful and I didn’t want to miss any of it, but trying to get it all organized, especially in my head, took some time. The thing I appreciated the most was the reading. There wasn’t a whole lot of it, at least compared to previous classes I’ve taken. You know what I mean, all of those dry and boring paragraphs that took the longest time to get to the point. This college is focused on teaching you what you need to know to be competent in your field. None of that extra fluff that takes up real estate in your brain.

There were quick little quizzes all the way through the course to check your knowledge which I found extremely useful. Lots of videos that went back over the information, once again, very useful. They also offered plenty of webinars to go over material. So if you didn’t quite comprehend the reading you always had videos or live sessions with the instructor to help get you through the material. I found this extremely refreshing. It’s been some years since I’ve taken an on-line course so maybe things have changed everywhere, but prior courses made me feel like I was on my own. Here read this huge textbook and be prepared to be tested. Not here. They do everything they can to get you through the course.

After reading through everything once I finally found my groove. I ended up starting over because I felt I missed a lot of information and went the old school route and took notes on paper. I found that to be way easier than going back and forth to a word document or spreadsheet. Maybe because I’m old, but that seemed to be the best thing for me. I probably took a few days longer than I needed before I scheduled my exam, but I wanted to make sure I knew the information and was very comfortable with it. One of the best things is taking a pre-assessment. Once it’s graded you can go back and see exactly what you got wrong and make sure you spend a little extra time on that subject. As long as you pass that you can go ahead and schedule your main exam. It’s simply a nice way to make sure that you are ready to take the test.

The exams are all proctored on-line and can be a bit different to get used to as well with someone sitting there watching your every move. I think the hardest part was setting up my testing area. I couldn’t have anything on the table or around me and the proctor had to see the whole table, my laptop, my hands and my face. It’s not the most comfortable setting in the world but I hesitate to try something else now that I have it set up. They are extremely picky about your set up, but I suppose they need to be so there is absolutely no question about cheating.

The second class was a quickie introduction to Excel spreadsheets and only took two weeks to work through. Once again I probably could have pushed it and tested earlier but I simply wanted to make sure I knew the material.

I passed both classes with flying colors. You either get competent or exemplary and that’s it. No grades, no grade point averages so no stress about maintaining your 4.0 GPA.

Now on to English composition. this is the one I’ve been dreading. I’ve been delaying this one for years but now don’t have a choice. Maybe when I’m done I’ll actually be able to write a half way decent blog post. WGU really has this on-line teaching down and they offer tons of support and are extremely encouraging. I had an instructor call me yesterday to talk about my email to him and about my apprehensions about writing. So they do go out of their way to be there for you.

Don’t worry I won’t bore you with every class I take, but I did want to post and encourage anyone who thinks they are too old or that it will be too hard to give taking more college classes a chance. You never really know what you are capable of until you do it.