In the beginning there was grad school. That ended in 2010. Now what do I blog about?

NEW BLOG - ACADEMIC AMPLITUDE

February 03, 2008

Your warm & fuzzies make me cry

Not yet finished completing week 3 homework and I am exhausted.

Work has been very busy the last week and a half -- the grant, the proposal, a presentation, web development meetings.

Home life has been unusually busy, with the kitchen & bathroom remodel complete, I am moving boxes of kitchen stuff back downstairs, washing plaster dust off of it, and trying to put it all away in a logical place.

School is going well. I am enjoying learning and processing new information. Both classes are online so I can work on assignments piecemeal through the week, however I am not yet satisfied with a routine and find myself with more required reading to do on Sunday afternoon than I would like. Perhaps once we've settled into normalcy at home, (and my husband learns to leave me alone when I am 'at school')and work projects level out again I'll be able to successfully identify a schedule to complete my school work and still have an afternoon off away from a computer.


Today, I woke early and showered and brought the kitty downstairs with me for coffee. I finished a novel, Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (this may explain the tone of my first post in this blog). The book has been sitting on my desk with only 20 pages unread, for the past 2 weeks. I then plugged in my laptop and scanned my email, my blogs, my GoogleGroups and the local newspaper headlines. Still too distracted to login to my online courses, I sprayed the waste basket with Mr Clean and scrubbed all the coffee stains off the sides of it. Kitty is fed and curled up, sleeping, on the living room couch. There are no dishes which need to be washed or put away. With a fresh cup of coffee, I sit to login to my online courses.

My first stop is course email. Some feedback from an instructor regarding recently completed assignments. All good. Next, I check the discussion boards to review posts added since my last login late Thursday night. I read through commentary on classmates required posts; I have already posted my 2 required comments and feel no need to comment further. At the end of the new post list, I come to several responses to my required post related to the Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Learning module assigned last week.

I have always been a creative writer. I find it easy to complete a written assignment and am able to add some flair to an otherwise monotone narrative, if it isn't inappropriate to do so. For this particular assignment, I created a reflective piece in which I detailed the process of completing the assignment -
At work this morning it occurred to me (recall) that I needed to do something for school. I was aware (comprehension) that I needed to print a few pages of module content and bring them home to work on because the task required focus and time. I then printed out the pages and put them in my bag to bring home (application).

During dinner, while slurping my soup, I read the instructions and each of the 21 questions very carefully. It was plain to see that solving the puzzle would require reason and the answer could be found with logical deduction (analysis). I finished my soup.
The feedback from my classmates has been postivie; but is tough to accept without doubt. My assessment of posts has been that they are 'nice' posts and not 'honest' posts. Because most of us don't know each other and many are new to discussion boards, people are posting niceties instead of constructive criticisms. Several have made progress through the MEd progam and know each other from on-campus classes, but for the most part, we are faceless personalities in the discussion board. I am trying to pay attention to who is who but their narratives run on into each other and there is not yet any apparent difference between them, for me.

Several of the women in the group have been posting things such as, "Oh my gosh, my cousin lives in your town!" and "Oh wow, I have a baby, too! Aren't they precious?" instead of "My cousin lives in your town; she was arrested last week for DUI; did you see it in the paper?" or "Yeah, I have a baby, too. It's so hard - I had no idea poopy diapers came in so many shades of brown & green!" Yes, I realize that the latter comments are not appropriate for the classroom discussion, however, neither is the first set if its pointless babbling.

That kind of trivial nonsense bores me to tears. Perhaps they find comfort, and feel safe, in volleying warm fuzzies back and forth. Perhaps because the discussions are evaluated by the instructors, they are guarded and trying to remain professional to the point that they refrain from showing their true selves.

Maybe I'm too harsh. Maybe by the end of the course I'll have made an honest connection with one or two people. Maybe next semester I'll post something warm & fuzzy such as, "Oh wow! Hi! We had ED737 together last term. Wasn't that a wonderful course?"

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