Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Next Class Begins

So, I’m an idiot—you probably knew that—but to what extent was a mystery until just yesterday. The next class I registered for is an online class, ARC-35, History of Architecture, Beginning to Gothic. I’ve never taken an online class before and I had no idea how they even worked, nor could I get over the fact that I didn’t have to actually go anywhere or see anyone. However, the thought of doing just about everything in my life wearing shorts and a t-shirt while sitting in the comforting confines of my house in front of a computer is appealing (and is becoming quite a theme) so I signed up for it.

With obscene amounts of trepidation, I contact the professor just after registering for the class and went down to the campus for a meeting with her to discuss how all of this online business properly functioned. I needed to know how the system worked, how the course would function and what I was expected to do. The one question I didn’t think to ask was, “How will it start?”

Classes officially began last Monday, the 23rd. On that day, nothing happened, no email, no stork delivering a telegram, no nothing. I assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that I would get some sort of confirmation from the professor as to what would happen, a welcome note perhaps, or a here’s where you should begin message on the phone. But the sun set on that Monday without a word from anyone.

Last time I went to school, the Internet was just an infant, untrustworthy and certainly not nearly mature enough to be held responsible for this sort of activity. All it could do was chat, tell some old news and trade back and forth doctored pictures of topless movie stars.

This is all new to me, and I started to feel as though I was becoming an old dog surrounded by trainers with new tricks. Either I curl up on the porch and start counting down the days to the final ride to the vet or I get up see what its all about. I started with the former but ended with the latter.

On Tuesday, I sent an email to the professor, pleading ignorance and confusion (again), with a “hey, is anyone out there?” message. She never emailed back, probably assured that she had already answered all of possible questions to quell any confusion on my part… again. I check and rechecked my school schedule, which is online, and lamented that maybe I was dropped because I haven’t yet paid my fees for Summer semester. Then I waited… and worried… and waited, that is, until last night.

After watching “The Mole,” the single greatest television reality-based game show ever to exist (though I do miss the now famous CNN anchor Anderson Cooper), a thought occurred to me: To find out information about an online course, why don’t you go online?!?

It never dawned on me that in order to begin an online class, that I actually needed to go online to a website, say the school’s site, and look for a place aptly named “Online Courses,” type in my student ID and begin taking the class. It was all set up for me and waiting, a calendar, assignments, the syllabus…did I mention assignments that were now late?

There, I found an email from the professor saying that I have one more day until my spot was filled by someone else on the waiting list unless I get started. Needless to say, just after 1am, I began my first assignment, study of Mesopotamian architecture…sweet!

When I finally made it to bed last night, well, this morning, I couldn’t sleep because of the initial excitement of starting a new class, and a history of architecture class at that! There is so much to do—I’ve already read the textbook—but I get to visit some buildings, write a term paper and some reports, take tests and play online class games. I’m stupidly giddy about really getting started! Teehee!

I just wish I would have been this thrilled at education the first time around. I maybe would have been a better student.

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