New Direction

Yesterday was the first day in my graduate program, the major that I've been waiting nearly two years to begin. Three courses, two in person and one online-and this is considered full time.

When you're a geek, like me, you start stalking Blackboard as soon as those courses show up, hoping the professors start putting up content. The first professor sent an email and started building the content the day after Christmas, while the other two followed suit last week.

The web class is basically Internet 101, with nine tasks designed to familiarize students with search engines and basic tools. For instance, I'll have to create a simple web page, make a Google map, write a blog (ha!) and manipulate a picture in Photoshop. Nothing too challenging.

I took a peek at the discussion boards, which many professors forget to scrub if they reuse templates from semester to semester. By doing so, I saw examples of all nine projects and feel confident that I will do well in the course and pick up some stuff along the way.

Last night was Interactive Media, which presents a lot of things I know about, but have never used. There are six projects centered around the industry standard software for my discipline. By the end of the semester, students will be intermediate users in five and expert in at least one. Our first project is to create a job aid in Photoshop and I will be consulting with GameTeen's school director next week to make something she can use.

My goal with these classes is that whatever I have to create will serve a purpose for the school. The director and I had a conversation back in the fall about it, because I hate the idea of making something that will never be used again. She was excited at the prospect of getting the fruits of my classwork, probably as much as I was that what I do won't be collecting cyberdust on my hard drive. Then, for the instructor to say that if we follow her three rules, we'll have an A in this class was a very pleasant bonus. She says its the reward for the fact that her class is very stressful as we learn new software.

Tonight's class has the potential of being very easy and the likelihood of being very difficult, but that's okay. Educational Psychology brings together my past and future
studies in one course. I'm quite thankful that I've got this foundation, because the projects are fairly complex. That said, the professor's enthusiasm for the material will definitely help in areas that are challenging. Even better, there's students from all across the College of Education graduate programs, making this course very interesting for those different perspectives we'll experience.

I was excited before the semester began to get the party started. Now that I've seen what I'm in for this semester, I know that I'll be working my butt off, but come May, I'll be so much richer for the experience.

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