Saturday, September 27, 2008

New computer!

I had to go out today and buy a new computer, mine just couldn't hack it anymore. I got it all working beautifully except for one thing, I can't figure out how to configure my Outlook to automatically download messages from the POP server. When I try to access the 'define send/receive groups' (under send/receive settings) I get an "operation failed' error. I can't figure out what's going on. I can manually select to download headers and full messages, but the automatic send/receive function doesn't work, so that's why I was trying to configure it to do this, but I keep getting stuck with the stupid 'operation failed' error. Any helpful ideas? Any Microsoft Outlook 2003 experts out there? I thought I was pretty much expert myself, but I am better with large networks apparently. When it comes to my own...hey, maybe that's it! I'm looking at this wrong. I'll be back....

Nope - still can't get it to work right. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to remember to manually retrieve my email all the time. I spent the day setting up my old computer in my son's room. I was able to get that one working much better too - now we are all connected and computing merrily. I got so happy I decided to clean up and rearrange my bedroom. It's amazing what buying a new computer can do for you! I got all motivated and started cleaning everything because I didn't want this new computer to get all clogged up with dust the way the old one was, my house hasn't been this clean since we moved in! Well, I have to go watch this movie on ancient Greece for my class. Yawn!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nothing new to report..

Well, this has been quite possibly one of the most boring weeks on record. Nothing really has happened and I think I can expect nothing to continue to happen. I did apply for a different position at work, which would mean a promotion, so that would be nice. Of course about 10 other people have also applied for it, so who knows!

I'm having trouble keeping all my kids in one place and it's destroying my nerves! Two in high school and apparently the most popular 8 year old in the neighborhood means I am never sure who's going to be where and at what time! Today I got home from work and one kid ran out one direction and the other went in another direction and I'm not sure where the third ended up and the next thing I know I'm eating egg salad sandwiches all by myself! It doesn't help that my husband works nights, so as I was pulling into the garage he was pulling out. That's about as close as we ever get, usually we just wave at each other as we pass each other going opposite ways down the street. I'm so bummed out that I've decided not to even go to the company picnic at work tomorrow and have volunteered to stay at the office and man (woman?) the phones. I just do not feel like mingling and pretending to have fun when all I really want to do is sit at my computer and work 'till I can't see.

To top it all off, I should be thinking about the papers I need to be writing for my class and I can't seem to come up with any ideas. And everyone else in my class seems to be smarter than I am and able to analyze the readings better than I can. And I can't find the films I need to watch and then discuss. And my fat clothes are too tight. And there was a a bug that looked like a leaf hanging from my front step this evening and it was creepy.

Ok, there, I have unloaded. In theory I should now feel better and be able to go on my merry way being, well, merry. I don't feel merry. I feel stressed. I'd say I need a drink, but I don't drink. I think I'll go play Wii Mario-Kart instead.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Play

While things have now settled down and questions have been answered - I have been given permission by the author, Mr. P. Lee to post a short play he wrote regarding recent events. The names have been changed to protect the innocent - and the opinions listed are not necessarily those of the blog author (a.ka. ME), I didn't write the play, I'm just posting it! FYI, the actual professor has since made sincere efforts to communicate clearly and politely since this was posted and the situation has been much improved. This just goes to show how a little miscommunication can have a major effect on a lot of people. As the warden in Cool Hand Luke put it, "What we have here is FAILURE to COMMUNICATE!"

The Right of Might

Setting - Teacher's lounge of the British School in New Delhi, India. The year is 1989 and smoking is yet permitted in the lounge. A highly accomplished and respected teacher enters the lounge and joins a trusted friend of his at a table. The friend offers him a cigarette which he gladly accepts. The teacher appears to be somewhat agitated.

Respected Teacher: I don't know about this class I've got this semester. They don't seem to be all too bright.

Trusted Friend: Oh? How so?

Respected Teacher: Well there's all this complaining about not being able to understand the directions which I put out clearly in the syllabus. One of the kids even whines about his frustrations regarding the matter. Like I give a damn.

Trusted Friend: So it's just a handful of dense students in this class that's giving you trouble?

Respected Teacher: Oh no. It seems like nobody in the whole group is bright enough to comprehend the syllabus. Can you believe that? An entire class of intellectually challenged students. And this is supposed to be an upper division English course for crying out loud!

Trusted Friend: Wait, if none of them are able to get it do you think the problem might possibly be with the syllabus and not with them?

Respected Teacher: Of course not! I wrote it after all. And when I read it, it makes perfect sense! There's no room for misunderstanding. Everything they need to know is right there if they'd get off their lazy behinds and actually read the thing.

Trusted Friend: You know, one of the tips for writers is to read what they've written out loud or have someone read it to them. It's because when people read what they themselves wrote they're reading the meaning which they had intended with those words and it could cloud any objective review of their work.

Respected Teacher: You think I don't know this? But this syllabus has been used before and it worked fine. It's got to be this class that's the problem.

Trusted Friend: Well what are some of the things they are complaining about?

Respected Teacher: Well for one thing they keep pointing out that the format for the weekly discussions, in which I limit the maximum number of answers possible, isn't adequate for the course which has a lot more people than the amount I've allotted.

Trusted Friend: What do you mean?

Respected Teacher: Well for the first week there was only 12 possible options for answers even though there are...oh more than 15 people in the class I think. Some parts of the second week only permit 8 eligible answers and the third week only 9.

Trusted Friend: Wait...I thought you said that this syllabus has been tested before? You mean you used the same inadequate number of possible answers before but the previous class just wasn't bothered with it?

Respected Teacher: No. It was a smaller class.

Trusted Friend: I see. Well don't you think the reason this class is complaining is because they're trying to take your directions seriously and keep in step with what you've put out?

Respected Teacher: Oh come on! If there aren't enough possible answers allotted then OF COURSE they're free to pick what they want. As long as they cover all the questions of course as well, isn't that just so obvious and crystal clear? It's not rocket science after all! (that last bit is actually a direct quote)

Trusted Friend: What else are they complaining about?

Respected Teacher: Well my syllabus doesn't exactly put out the dates which 2 of their major papers, research presentations, are due. Nor the exact topics. I just put out the final due date and naturally thought they'd figure out it meant they have to pick a date before that on which they'd present. This is again so obvious and elementary that if they can't figure such simple details I feel like they shouldn't even be in this class. How on earth do they expect to understand masterful literary pieces when they can't figure out a simple syllabus?

Trusted Friend: Hmm...well so far it seems the only problem has been in figuring out the syllabus you've put out to them. I mean none of them have complained about any of the actual course work but are just trying to figure out what and when they're supposed to do the work, right?

Respected Teacher: And it's not like they just point it out but they keep going on and on about the same thing. I mean, do I have to answer the same question 10 different times to the same class?

Trusted Friend: You mean you addressed these issues and clarified what is required to them and they still continue to nag you with questions?

Respected Teacher: Oh no. I didn't deal with any of this nonsense the entire first week. I only got around to it on the second week. What, I'm not their slave that I need to cater to them day and night!

Trusted Friend: Well the first week is usually when people are trying to figure things out and have all the basic questions. It might have been helpful to be there on the first week to help them grasp the material at the start perhaps?

Respected Teacher: Look that's really not my responsibility as a teacher. I put out the instructions as I see fit. Then I just have to drop in once a week and drop a "Good job" or even an "Excellent Job" here and there to let them think that I actually care about all the stuff they come up with. Maybe even refer to an issue here and there if I'm in a particularly good mood. But I'm not going to cater to them hand and foot with everything they can't be bothered to read and think about in order to figure out. I really think some of these kids need to just drop this class.

Trusted Friend: You really think people should drop your class because they can't figure out your syllabus? Without even getting into the actual course work?

Respected Teacher: Yes!

Trusted Friend: You've admitted to faulty direction given in your weekly lectures. And the lack of actual dates or clarification of topics given for papers in your syllabus. Yet you still think the students are at fault for being confused?

Respected Teacher: Yes!

Trusted Friend: How so?

Respected Teacher: Because I'M THE TEACHER, damnit! I have a PhD for crying out loud!

A few moments pass in silence after which the trusted friend reaches for his cigarette case and offers it to the respected teacher.

Trusted Friend: Care for another one?

Respected Teacher: Sure. Thanks.

Trusted Friend: So...what are you up to tonight? Want to go out for a drink or something?

Respected Teacher: Can't. I've got a pretty big lecture I have to give tonight.

Trusted Friend: Oh...what's it on?

Respected Teacher: It's on improving the effectiveness of higher level education with a global perspective.

The End

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Communication is a wonderful thing

Well, all is well with my class now. After a rocky start and a couple of fiery departures, I now have clarification on all previously unanswered questions and I am able to proceed full steam ahead! Now this class is becoming what I had hoped it would be, fun, interesting and enlightening. I love taking classes. Even if I had already received my degree I would still take classes. I think I need to have the challenge of learning something new in my life as a constant. I feel like if I stop learning I'll start to grow old, and that will just not do.

I am learning in other areas also. I learned that my 14 year old son is flirting and being flirted with a 16 year old girl! What is up with that!!! No no no!!! I am going to have to keep him on a much tighter leash I think. Is that even possible? Maybe I can just get him signed up for a bunch of sports or something so he won't have any time for such shenanigans. I'll just get him doing too many other things to think about girls. He is way too young for this! I am way too young for this! Oy vey!

Tune in next week for more Days of Anne's life!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oh the Drama! The Drama!!

Well, in a very exciting turn of events, one of my fellow students actually wrote a short play describing the frustrations of recent events in our class, posted it on the Discussion Board, and then quit!! The play was quite accurate and very funny, but somehow I do not believe the professor will see it that way. I'd post it here, but I haven't asked the author so I better not. My oh my, what fun we're having now! Well, I am simply going to continue to work through this class, which I am very much enjoying, not only for the subject matter, but now that I think I have a grasp of how the professor wants things done, I'm really liking reading the back and forth between confused students and an annoyed instructor. Ok, some of that was me, but still! Good stuff! I am sure glad it's Friday though. I need a day to sleep past 5 am!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

End of week 2

I think I have the class figured out now, but I don't think my professor is very happy with me or a few of my classmates. We actually lost one. The professor told her she shouldn't be in the class if she was unable to think a certain way, so she left! That's never happened before in my classes! Anyway, I think I have it sorted now, so I'm just gonna keep on truckin'! I am actually very much enjoying the subject matter. I love Greek mythology and I didn't realize how fascinating an in-depth study was going to be. As the course moves on there are many terrific texts I'm looking forward to studying so we should be all systems go!

I'm really tired today, I've been up late working on my homework and getting up at 5 am for work. My kids need some of me too, so I'm spread pretty thin and feeling every bit of it. I try to balance my one class alongside the rest of my life, but it's a rough ride sometimes! I still have so very, very far to go before I reach my degree. If I could go full time I'd be done in 2 semesters, but it is just not to be. I wonder if the university would consider accelerated classes? If they could make them all 8 week classes like the summer semester that would let me finish in half the time! I was almost considering looking into a program like University of Phoenix which does offer the accelerated classes, but then I wouldn't have a degree from UIS, which I would value more. I guess it's snobbery on my part, but I want a degree from the best university around, and that's where I'm at. I just wish I could do it faster!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Frustration with class!

A lot of my fellow students in my class have expressed frustration regarding the syllabus and the lack of communication the professor provides. We post our questions in a question and answer section and lo and behold!! No response whatsoever. We cannot get clarification on anything, so far all we get is, "consult the syllabus". Well that's just dandy, but the syllabus does not actually answer any questions. We are all at least junior and senior level college students, some are grad students, I think it should be clear that if all of us are having questions about the same things, then maybe there is actually a problem with the syllabus, and not the students!! For the first time since I enrolled, I have a doubt about my ability to succeed in a class. I have always gotten A's in my classes, but if I can't even figure out what I am supposed to turn in and when, what chance do I have?

I hope it gets better, otherwise this is going to be a very, very long semester!!