01 January 2006

Doing It On-line

I bet the search engines will love this post header. :) But this is a PG blog, so some people will just have to live with disappointment.

I haven't taken an on-line class before. And I haven't been a student for a long time now. I finished my M.Ed. in December 1994. I am now venturing back to school, but in a virtual classroom. I feel comfortable in an on-line environment, so I'm not worried about navigating one that relates to taking a course. I do think it will be an adjustment to learning this way---more or less in isolation from peers.

My first class toward my Ed.D. officially begins on Tuesday, but people are already introducing themselves on the class message board. I've been busy downloading and printing the syllabus and other expectations. I've even started reading one of the excerpts. This slight form of overachievement won't last long, since it's back to work in two more days.

The beliefs and attitudes I have toward teaching and learning have evolved quite a lot in the years since I last took a class. I am finding that as I read now, I do so more critically---both in terms of content and how I organize the information in my mind. I've hit reading strategies so hard with the kids in my classroom these last five years that I can't help but look at how to apply them to my current experiences. Maybe this will be a good thing. It might give me more insight into helping my own students navigate content on their own.

There are a bit of nerves involved with becoming a student again. Have my critical thinking skills become too mushy? Can I write with the kind of quality that I need to? Will I be able to get to a place where I can better help other teachers?

This first course looks straightforward, as it is an introduction to the whole process. So, there's a bit of reading, three five-page papers and quizzes, regular postings to the discussion board, and a journal. All of this will give a bit of practice in using the on-line format for a course, along with doing research, and learning APA style for citations. (After being a lifelong MLA user, this should be...interesting.) By the end, I'm supposed to have an idea of how I would like to focus my work. I don't have to do an official dissertation the third year, but there will be a large-scale research project.

I'm looking forward to the road ahead. I know that there will be reasons to celebrate and curse along the way. I just have to stay focused.

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