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17 July 2005 @ 04:14 pm
Well, that was novel... Not terribly appreciated, but certainly novel.

I'm taking an online C# class through one of the local community colleges at the moment. (This is being done to fill in holes in my resume so that maybe -- just maybe -- someone will give me a *&^$# job.) I am not terribly impressed with the class so far, for a variety of reasons.

Today I ran into a new low for the class.

The lectures are all on-line, run through some interface that is obviously designed with distance learning in mind. There is a list of links to the various lectures. Today I tried to go into one lecture and was told that I had to pass a "skills test" in order to view it.

Now, I've never had to pass a "skills test" in order to attend a lecture in a college class before, so this annoyed me somewhat. But it got better from there...

See, the "skills test" was on the course description and syllabus. Yes, that's right. I can't "attend lecture" (as it were) until I demonstrate that I've learned how the class works and -- very importantly (since the question came up FOUR TIMES on the skills test) how to e-mail the teacher. The other charming thing about the "skills test" is that is it THREE TIMES longer than any of the quizzes we've had to far. It's thirty-two questions, and I can't view the lecture until I pass it. And "passing" is defined as "answering every single question correctly.

Absolutely amazing.

For anyone who is wondering, I do not recommend this class. It is undoubtedly less obnoxious when it's not summer session, but I think in the case of this particular instructor, being able to talk to him face to face is probably necessary. (Not that I really want to, since he seems to redefine "anal retentive" -- and this is coming from ME -- and has a bit of a hostile attitude toward the students. Personally, I'm glad that I don't have to see him face to face.

And now that I have completed the 250 pages worth of reading for this week (not all of which was listed on the syllabus -- the last 100 I found out about when I went to read the class lecture for Tuesday, thank you anal teacher) I must go take the midterm, and then begin the project that is due tommorrow. Yes, that is just one week's worth of work. The teacher has highly unrealistic expectations of what is a reasonable weekly load.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Leighlucifie on July 18th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)
welcome to distance learning. I've learned my lesson already, it bites. For some reason schools seem to think that the failure rates with these types of classes are due to stupid students, so they cram a bunch of shit into the classes to make sure you understand you are using The Internet. I-n-t-e-r-n-e-t. It is this neat new invention that allows you to send information remotely from one computer to another via E-Mail or Electronic Mail.

The real problem is the teachers they appoint are not trained to teach via the medium and fall back on traditional methods that don't work very well in the type of environment they have been given to work in.

Unrealistic course loads are unfortunately a universal problem that regular classes have too, but they tend to be more exaggerated in distance courses because you don't presumably get half of the information from a sitting in a room somewhere for 3 hours and being talked at.
etoile.noiretoilenoir959 on July 18th, 2005 08:29 am (UTC)
I'm scared to ask, but is this Foothill?
(Anonymous) on July 18th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
Yup. Which is a shame, since I had a positive experience every other time I've taken classes there. So now I've been warned that this teacher should probably be avoided in the future, and I will approach online classes with a good deal more care.
Taerieltaeriel on July 18th, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC)
Wow. That really is an amazing new low for this class. I've never heard of being tested on a class syllabus to be able to attend a lecture! In fact, I've never heard of being tested on anything in order to get a lecture...