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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.