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Academy Caritas: Free Courses Online

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Family, Friends | Posted on 30-07-2012

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Today’s post at Acad­e­my Car­i­tas lists some free online cours­es that look very good. I’m con­sid­er­ing using some of those to get back into the groove of school until I can go back “for real.”

I’m in a good mood, as I’m at the girl’s place and I got to see Steven today. Hap­py day!

General Update

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Family, Health | Posted on 02-09-2010

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It has been some time since I post­ed much here, so I fig­ure that I should do a bit of an update. It isn’t as if any­thing has changed in any big way. Sam has the same nice and sta­ble job, and we’re still very hap­pi­ly togeth­er after — oh, wow, it’s twelve years this month.

Katie is a col­lege stu­dent now, and still liv­ing at home (I’m very hap­py about that!) since she decid­ed to attend a local school. Her health issues haven’t gone away, but she’s try­ing so very hard — I wor­ry about her con­stant­ly. She push­es and push­es until she col­laps­es every day and at the end of every week. She has a very active social life (what do you expect? she’s a babe!), and hap­pi­ly she has a great group of friends who are sup­port­ive about help­ing her get to class when nei­ther she nor I dri­ve.

One of the class­es she was sup­posed to take (French) was can­celed due to inad­e­quate enroll­ment. She was ter­ri­bly unhap­py, and I was a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed because I was look­ing for­ward to help­ing her with the sub­ject. On the oth­er hand, it was an 8am class, and with­out it her ear­li­est class is much lat­er in the day. I think it worked out for the best for this semes­ter.

I’ve had anoth­er nui­sance come up with my own health, too. Annoy­ing bod­ies. They’re great when you want to taste choco­late, hug some­one, smell flow­ers, etc. but I have some com­plains about a few design flaws.

That’s enough for tonight. Tomor­row: More about Art!

School & More Reading

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Reading | Posted on 02-07-2008

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Reg­is­tra­tion clos­es tomor­row, so I have to decide before the end of the day whether or not I’m tak­ing class­es for sum­mer semes­ter or not. Bah. I want a break, but if I’m not in school my stu­dent loans come out of defer­ment.

I’ve been read­ing – and lov­ing–Patri­cia Brig­gs’ Mer­cy Thomp­son books. They’re a lot of fun, so I’m push­ing them at Sam, too.

Brig­gs has some amus­ing infor­ma­tion on her site about sil­ver bul­lets, includ­ing a reprint (with per­mis­sion, of course) of an old Gun World arti­cle, Long Ranger, Go Away!

Blah

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Kvetching | Posted on 06-06-2008

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That’s pret­ty much my opinoin today. Blah. Blah blah blah. I couldn’t wake up enough to dri­ve safe­ly, so I missed an appoint­ment that will take months to resched­ule.

For every assign­ment we do in the tech writ­ing course I’m tak­ing, we turn in a rough draft and receive two peer reviews and feed­back from the instruc­tor before doing the final draft. I got the two peer reviews this morn­ing from the assign­ment I turned in on Sun­day, and they were ridicu­lous. Seri­ous­ly – both reviews were full of non­sense like, “your sub­mis­sion wasn’t dou­ble-spaced” (that’s because the instruc­tions said to sin­gle space it, doo­fus) or “there aren’t dou­ble spaces between the para­graphs” (yes, there are – I dou­ble-checked) or “you have to spell it ‘co-hous­ing’” (not when the author­i­ties in the field spell the word ‘cohous­ing’ kid).

They get grad­ed on their peer reviews, as I’ve been on mine, so hope­ful­ly they’ll get sucky grades. I got count­ed down on one of the first ones I did because I wasn’t harsh enough. Yes, that person’s piece need­ed a lot of work, and I could have ripped it to shreds. I was try­ing to stay “con­ge­nial” as instruct­ed. My true thoughts were more along the lines of, “Why are you in this course? Only TCOM majors need to take it, and oh please $deity do NOT tell me you’re major­ing in TCOM when you can hard­ly write a read­able sen­tence.” That wouldn’t have been con­ge­nial, would it?

The idea behind the peer reviews is that most tech­ni­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tors work in teams now, so we have to get used to giv­ing each oth­er con­struc­tive crit­i­cism and accept­ing the same. I can han­dle that. I don’t, how­ev­er, see why peo­ple who can’t man­age to sort out “there” and “their,” or who don’t under­stand that an apos­tro­phe does not mean HERE COMES AN “S” are even per­mit­ted in the course. They’re all sup­posed to have passed the basic Eng­lish cours­es before tak­ing any­thing in the TCOM depart­ment, but obvi­ous­ly “pass­ing” and “mas­ter­ing the mate­r­i­al” are not close­ly relat­ed con­cepts.

Diane Duane Rocks

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, College, CYLC, Love, Reading, Spirituality | Posted on 23-05-2008

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The Sword and the DragonBack when the Meisha Mer­lin ware­house was being cleaned out, Sam picked up a copy of The Sword and the Drag­on, first vol­ume of the Epic Tales of the Five by Diane Duane that MM put out. It con­tains The Door Into Fire and The Door Into Shad­ow.

The Door Into FireI’ve want­ed my own copies of the first three Tales of the Five books for decades, since read­ing an old friend’s copies. I’m still dis­ap­point­ed that MM nev­er put out the next vol­ume, which should have includ­ed The Door Into Sun­set and the nev­er-before-pub­lished The Door Into Starlight. But then, there are oth­er peo­ple who have far more rea­son to be dis­ap­point­ed about MM mat­ters than I do, so I can’t fuss too much. And I have this vol­ume, and will con­tin­ue to hold out hope that Duane will find a new pub­lish­er who will bring out the oth­ers some­time in my life­time.

The Door Into ShadowAny­way, I had to stop read­ing to show this bit to Sam. It sums up much of what I love about Duane’s phi­los­o­phy.

…death is inevitable. But we have one pow­er, as men and beasts and crea­tures of oth­er planes. We can slow down the Death, we can die hard, and help all the worlds die hard. To live with vig­or, to love pow­er­ful­ly and with­out car­ing whether we’re loved back, to let loose build­ing and teach­ing and heal­ing and all the arts that try to slow down the great Death. Espe­cial­ly joy, just joy itself. A joy flares bright and goes out like the stars that fall, but the lit­tle flare it makes slows down the great Death ever so slight­ly. That’s a tri­umph, that it can be slowed down at all, and by such a sim­ple thing.

The Door Into Sunset

Cohousing?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education | Posted on 19-05-2008

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I’m work­ing on my final project for the tech­ni­cal writ­ing course, which is a com­par­i­son of cohous­ing devel­op­ments to sin­gle-fam­i­ly and more tra­di­tion­al mul­ti-fam­i­ly hous­ing. I’m find­ing it dif­fi­cult to find any of the books I want to use as ref­er­ences in the library (school or two coun­ties). Do any of you who are local hap­pen to have books on the sub­ject? Copies of Com­mu­ni­ties mag­a­zine, maybe? I’d appre­ci­ate a chance to look at such things rather than need­ing to buy them via Ama­zon!

School Happy

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Geekery, Writing | Posted on 18-05-2008

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I final­ly got the grades from the first tech­ni­cal writ­ing assign­ment I turned in last week, and the peer reviews I did on two of my class­mates’ rough drafts. I got full points for all of them!

I was wor­ried about one of the peer reviews, because the per­son chose to do a set of instruc­tions for start­ing to cross-stitch. I know too much about that top­ic to eval­u­ate it well from a beginner’s point of view, and that was the intend­ed audi­ence. I actu­al­ly approached the pro­fes­sor with some ques­tions, and won­dered if I should swap reviews with some­one new to stitch­ing. Hap­pi­ly, the pro­fes­sor said I pro­vid­ed a bal­anced review that reflect­ed my expe­ri­ences as a for­mer begin­ner and cur­rent­ly expe­ri­enced stitch­er, and that I was respect­ful through­out. I was try­ing very, very hard to avoid any hint of con­de­scen­sion, and it appears that it worked!

My top­ic was “Cre­at­ing Your First Pod­cast,” and that received full points, too. It had to be done with a Flesch–Kincaid Grade Lev­el less than 8th grade, which was not easy. I got it down to 7th grade, and couldn’t go any low­er. The pro­fes­sor said that was due to the tech­ni­cal terms I had to use, and was per­fect­ly accept­able.

Done!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education | Posted on 24-04-2008

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I took my man­age­ment final and turned in my peer review for the human­i­ties class, so I am fin­ished!

I sup­pose this is my spring break, then. All the way ’til Sun­day, when the next class­es start.

Presentation Done, Good Reading

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, College, Reading | Posted on 21-04-2008

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I can’t talk about the pre­sen­ta­tion. I might have flash­backs. The fact that BOTH my class­es that start next week have group projects is NOT giv­ing me a hap­py.

Personal DemonHow­ev­er, I did read Kel­ly Armstrong’s lat­est Women of the Oth­er­world book, Per­son­al Demon, yes­ter­day, and then Dana Stabenow’s Pre­pared for Rage today. They were good.

Weekend and School Update

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Writing | Posted on 20-04-2008

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The girl and Sam both had busy week­ends. Katie went out Fri­day and Sat­ur­day, play­ing D&D with friends first, then going to a par­ty with her sweet­ie dur­ing my and Sam’s date Sat­ur­day night. Sam had a com­put­er to deliv­er Sat­ur­day morn­ing, then ran around pick­ing up some things. He went out again yes­ter­day, to the library for me and to the gro­cery store and the farmer’s mar­ket and I’m not even sure where else. Then he did an inter­vew for his pod­cast last night.

This is the last week of my class­es for the semes­ter, so I did a paper for one class and cre­at­ed my slides for a group project pre­sen­ta­tion in the oth­er, then had a cou­ple of quizzes. Mon­day night we do our pre­sen­ta­tion online, and see the oth­er groups’ pre­sen­ta­tions. That class doesn’t have a final, but I do have to take the final for the man­age­ment class, then I’m done.

Next week I start a class every­body is appar­ent­ly sup­posed to take around the begin­ning of their stud­ies, since one of the assign­ments involves cre­at­ing a “plan of study.” DeVry seems to have a lot of these “because we said so” class­es, which is annoy­ing. I’m also tak­ing my first tech­ni­cal writ­ing course at DeVry, though. It will involve more group projects, a bane of my exis­tence.

It’s one thing to work togeth­er in a busi­ness set­ting, where people’s jobs depend on their per­for­mance. It’s quite anoth­er to be yoked with peo­ple who just can’t be arsed to pull their weight and appar­ent­ly think Bs are high grades. I’m absolute­ly appalled by the num­ber of peo­ple in the 400-lev­el class­es I had this semes­ter who can­not cre­ate a coher­ent para­graph, much less write a paper.

I had the required “write a research paper” class over 20 years ago, at anoth­er school. Either the stan­dards have fall­en hor­ri­bly, or Mer­cer had high­er stan­dards than I real­ized. (I won’t even both­er com­par­ing Agnes Scott’s stan­dards to DeVry. It’s too painful.) Of course, if either of those schools had reme­di­al cours­es of any sort, I was unaware of them. Those “teach you what you should have learned in mid­dle school” class­es are a fact of life in all the Uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem schools and DeVry. I know that there were some when I took class­es at Geor­gia Perime­ter so many years ago, but they seem to be more and more impor­tant now. I hon­est­ly don’t think they belong in any insti­tu­tion of “high­er learn­ing.” If you can’t read, write, and do basic math before you get to col­lege, you have no busi­ness being there, because you do not have the essen­tial tools required for suc­cess. I sup­pose that makes me an elit­ist.

It’s going to be odd going back to 100 and 200 lev­el cours­es next week. By the time most stu­dents do get to the 400-lev­el cours­es, the true dregs have dropped out or risen out of that sta­tus. Thread­ed dis­cus­sions are such a huge part of online class­es that you get far more expo­sure to your class­mates writ­ing than in a face-to-face class, and you quick­ly find out who can’t or won’t write and who has no clue about how to dis­cuss issues with­out degen­er­at­ing into total non­sense. That part of this semes­ter hasn’t been as bad as oth­ers, at least. I did still run into nut­cas­es insist­ing that this coun­try was found­ed as a “Chris­t­ian nation,” but that’s pret­ty much to be expect­ed any­more.