Friday, 16 June 2006

June 16, 2006 Chautauqua

From the Editor's Computer  
   Last week my family went up to Athabasca to attend my sister’s convocation ceremony at Athabasca University, where she was officially presented with her Bachelor of General Studies (Arts & Sciences) degree.  Congratulations Mary!

   There were differences from when we attended my convocation ceremony in Athabasca five short years ago.  When I convocated there were only 300+ graduates over two days.  This year there were 1,100+ graduates over three days.  As the graduates are literally from all over the world, not all are in attendance.  Five years ago people were fainting because it was such a blistering hot day.  This year we wore coats and dodged rain drops.  Five years ago the Masters degrees were still new, thus the number of graduates were small.  This year the Masters degree recipients were in the hundreds, and the University is talking about their plans to add many more degree options by 2015, including the possibility of Doctorate degrees.

   There were also similarities between the two special days...The welcoming atmosphere wherever you go on the grounds...The extra effort on the part of the university to have gorgeous bouquets and planters of flowers everywhere...The personal touch they add to the events of the day so that everyone feels included in the wonder and excitement the graduates are feeling...The biographical information they share about each graduate so that you can know them all. 

   It truly does not take much to make people feel special and appreciated.                

Beth


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Friday, 2 June 2006

June 2, 2006 Chautauqua

From the Editor's Computer  
  By the time you read this I will be buried deep in the school books as I began a new course.  The initial email from my professor stated that she was going easy on us the first week.  After completing two 1-page assignments, numerous readings from the textbook and other sources, the class discussion, and this week’s assignment, I’m convinced that her definition of easy isn’t the same as mine, making this intensive course more intensive!

   Last semester I ended up in conversation with one of my classmates regarding why students take online courses.  In the discussion he revealed that he puts in a minimum of 20 hours per week on each course (he took three courses last semester) and he firmly believed that an online course can only be effective if there are mandatory scheduled class interaction times throughout the week. 

   I countered with the statement that some of us take online classes because of the flexibility offered by not having to sit down at specific times during the week to study or go online.  I also mentioned I have don’t have 20 hours per week to study, which my classmate found totally inconceivable.

   Often while working on a course, I must make the choice to either work on readings and assignments, or participate in the class discussions as I don’t have time for both. 

   In fact, not only do I not have 20 hours per week to devote to studying, but I work out of the home less than 20 hours per week and I have less than 20 hours per to put the newspaper together.  Plus, I like to think that I have a life and hobbies somewhere in there.

   We need to be flexible not only in our outlook, but in how we use our time.  What areas of your life and schedule do you need more flexibility?

Beth


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