The long awaited update

Posted by lynn on Oct 5, 2005 in News

To all four of you that actually read this blog, I sincerely apologize for not posting sooner. Those who actually deal with me on a somewhat daily basis know that I have been as of late a crazy person. At any rate I’m leaving for Champaign on Friday for my semesterly-trip to UIUC. I thought I’d give y’all the update:

School is hard. I think the level and type of “hard” changes from semester to semester, but this semester appears to be hard in the “holy crap, that’s a lot of work you expect me to do” category. It’s not that the assignments are individually hard (at least for the one class they aren’t); it’s that there are so many of them. I basically have a writing assignment due each week. Here’s the run down on the actual classes:

My “Organization of Information” class is the last of my two core classes (the first one I took during the summer session), and probably the more interesting of the two. We’re covering how information is classified, why it’s classified, how to find it, why you find it that kind of way, etc. Talk about a class that makes you see organizing things in a whole new way. The class is pretty digital-technology friendly too, which is good since I’m a nerd. My only gripe is that we have an assignment due about every one to two weeks. They’re all short assignments and I’ve gotten full credit for the ones that have been graded so far, so I wouldn’t be so bothered by them if it weren’t for the other class.

Ah, Electronic Publishing. First of all, let me say that my professor is a very smart, nice woman who definitely knows a lot about this subject matter and does an excellent job of explaining it. Here comes “the but:” 1) she’s constantly changing the syllabus – a reading that was recommended one week becomes required the next and vice versa. She’s especially fond of adding more and more information/requirements to assignments on an on-going basis. 2) She assigns about 200 or so pages of reading each week. 3) Because the assignments and readings change on an irregular basis, it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on.

Electronic publishing is a really cool subject and she’s trying to introduce some very technical stuff (publishing XML documents) in a very friendly way. I think that she’s doing about the best she can with that subject matter in a distance-learning environment. However I feel like she keeps shifting her expectations of us in weird ways (the syllabus changing, and her saying things like “maybe you can publish your final project in a journal!” and yet she wrote an XML assignment that basically told us step by step what to do so we couldn’t get it wrong), so I feel like this class is an exercise in hitting a moving target. Who knows? Maybe that’s her ultimate goal. I get my first assignment back from her this weekend, so we’ll see if I’ve properly guessed her expectations very soon.

So this week I’m scrambling to finish up some reading, write a short assignment, prepare for some in-class assignments, pack, catch up on Tivo and still manage to be productive at work. I’m only partly successful in this effort so far.

I’ll report in after the trip to C-U. Ciao for now.

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