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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.

School update

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College | Posted on 10-12-2006

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School is going along fine. In fact, anoth­er semes­ter is almost done for me, and Katie’s almost at the end of her semes­ter, too. She’s kick­ing ass and tak­ing names. Now that she’s set­tled aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly, she’s stretch­ing out into some extracur­ric­u­lar stuff and mak­ing more friends. We’ve man­aged to con­nect with a Girl Scout troop, (final­ly!) despite sil­ly paper­work slip-ups.

I think I need to rearrange my class­es for the next part of the semes­ter (I’m already reg­is­tered), but this unit’s class­es are going very well, and I’ve actu­al­ly learned use­ful (in one class) and inter­est­ing (in the oth­er class) stuff.

I had told the school when they ini­tial­ly did my tran­script eval­u­a­tion that I didn’t have as many upper-lev­el cred­its as they said I had, but they insist­ed that I’d done my major work and wouldn’t real­ly lis­ten. Weird­ness­es kept com­ing up, and I kept push­ing about things like the Hope Schol­ar­ship not com­ing up in my finan­cial aid pack­age. Some­one final­ly said, “Oh — you aren’t eli­gi­ble because you already have a bachelor’s degree.”

What? Um, no. You see, I’m in the Bachelor’s Degree Com­ple­tion Pro­gram because I don’t have a bachelor’s degree yet. Capiche?

Well, it seems that when Mer­cer Uni­ver­si­ty sent over my tran­scripts, they couldn’t man­age to just pull the tran­scripts for Cyn­thia Rober­son (my name when I attend­ed that school) with my Social Secu­ri­ty Num­ber and my Mer­cer Stu­dent ID. No, they also sent over Cyn­thia Armistead’s tran­script — some­one whose name was Cyn­thia Armis­tead when she attend­ed Mer­cer and got a bachelor’s degree, some­one with a dif­fer­ent SSN and MSI and mid­dle ini­tial. And instead of notic­ing these dis­crep­an­cies, my school blithe­ly entered this tran­script in and gave me cred­it for her work!

So there’s been a whole big deal about get­ting all of my tran­scripts again, and re-eval­u­at­ing them anew, and chang­ing my planned class­es to reflect the results. I’m get­ting two sorts of atti­tude from the bureau­crats I have to deal with in straight­en­ing out this non­sense: peo­ple who obvi­ous­ly think I should have shut up and tak­en the cred­its, and peo­ple who think I was try­ing to pull a fast one (hence the busi­ness about them get­ting all my tran­scripts again, direct­ly from my old schools) and re-eval­u­at­ing them).

For­tu­nate­ly, the class­es I’ve tak­en so far are class­es I need­ed to take. Yay. The class­es that start in a cou­ple of weeks are in ques­tion, so I need to talk to my so-called “advi­sor” about them. The “advi­sor” is the per­son who deals with every­body who is in the bachelor’s degree com­ple­tion pro­gram. She doesn’t do indi­vid­ual advis­ing, real­ly. She doesn’t give a fly­in’ flip about me or my plans, abil­i­ties, back­ground, etc. She meets with stu­dents once, when they enter the pro­gram. That’s it. That’s the plan. She doesn’t want to see us again. She’s not hap­py that she’s had to talk to me more than once.

I was just way spoiled by my mar­velous advi­sor at South­ern Poly, Dr. Mark Stevens. Nobody else can live up to that stan­dard. But this woman shouldn’t have the same title. She’s a paper­work-stam­per.

I’m actu­al­ly enjoy­ing the data­base por­tion of my cur­rent business/​computer course so much that I’m look­ing at which tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion in the bachelor’s degree com­ple­tion major would give me the most oppor­tu­ni­ty to go deep­er into the top­ic.

Oh — with the oth­er person’s bachelor’s degree tran­script, I had some­thing like 91 trans­fer cred­its. That’s the max­i­mum you’re allowed to trans­fer into the school. With­out her tran­script, just using my cred­its, I’m com­ing in with 79 cred­its. The sci­ence class I’m tak­ing now should have been my last “core” class, but this school counts “Sci­ence, Tech­nol­o­gy and Soci­ety as a 400 lev­el class. The STS class I took at South­ern Poly was a 200 lev­el class. So one more core class, some busi­ness and man­age­ment stuff required for my major, and then the tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion cours­es. Three full semes­ters, at least, maybe four, since there may be pre­req­ui­sites required for some of the tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion class­es that I don’t have yet.

That’s not too bad — just anoth­er year of school, real­ly. Wow. I can see the end.