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!
I’ve been looking into online education lately, beyond my experiment with learning programming (which is still ongoing). These are some of the resources I’ve identified. They’re all free, although you don’t get college credit for the courses.
- Coursera — courses taught by instructors various top universities.
- Khan Academy — video courses on every topic under the sun, at many levels
- Udacity — courses involve problem-solving and add the option to take tests at testing centers.
There are long lists at these two articles. I don’t see a reason to reproduce them here.
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!
I adore LifeHacker. They have a sweet list of
free online college courses!
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!
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.
Back 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.
I’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.
Anyway, 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.
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!
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 Fleschâ€“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.
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.