I’m having a great time going back to school. No, it is not a full-time party or anything like that. Rather, I’m learning new stuff and confirming that a knew quite a bit already. It is a nice sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Although, keeping up with my studies while working and having some kind of life is an interesting balance of priorities.
So far my experiences with WGU have been very positive. I feel like I have made a good decision with where I’m going to school. I have to admit, I was kind or worried about how going someplace that was so non-traditional would work out. Those fears seem completely unfounded now.
The orientation class was a great introduction to all of the resources available. There is a huge collection of online libraries and training sources that I have access to. One day I might even use all of them. It is reassuring to know they are there and how to get to them.
Having a mentor from the school checking in to make sure things are going well, offering tips and guidance, and being available to answer questions has been very helpful. I’ve already talked with Ian, my mentor, more than all the advisors in my previous 4 years at university.
Studying has been nice. I read on the bus every day anyway. I read at lunch most days. I read a lot. Now I’m just reviewing my textbook for whatever I’m working on at the moment. Also, I bought a really nice lawn chair. I drag it out to the park and kick back and read. I see it as a fine way to spend a summer day.
The testing process is pretty slick. Being able to take a test at home rather than going into a testing center or a classroom somewhere is nice. How does that work? you ask. Couldn’t you just cheat? Nope. They have contracted with a service that monitors you while you are taking the test. Shortly after starting a webcam with a mic showed up in the mail. Now, when I need to take a test I do it through special software that takes over my computer screen and provides someone out on the tubes somewhere access to the camera to watch me take my test (I do feel kind of bad for those people).
Now you might wonder, can you get around this system? Maybe, but not likely. I’m pretty technically savvy and might be able to pull something off if I cared to try. However, I’d only get one chance and the risk to reward ratio doesn’t work out well in my favor. I’m not in school to game the system; I’m trying to learn. There is really no point in testing it.
Well that turned out to be more time on the Kryterion set-up than I’d planned but I think it is pretty cool. The worst thing about the whole process is that I needed to clean off my desk to get ready to take my first test.
Oh right, I passed my first test with no problems. Six credits down because law and ethics are subjects I have a decent background in already. I probably could have passed the test the first day but I wanted to do some of the readings to feel more comfortable with the subject. It isn’t as though I knew everything being taught. I knew just enough I probably could have passed with a score that I wouldn’t have been entirely happy with. I see no point in avoiding learning new things when presented with an opportunity.
Not all of the courses have a test; a fair number of the courses require a written project. Conveniently, I like to write and do quite a bit of it. Writing for work has really changed my perspective on this sort of assignment. Compared to the term papers from my first university experience they really seem to be about the same scale, maybe a bit larger. It is just that seems really short to me now. Seven page double-spaced paper just isn’t as intimidating as it might have once been. The degree does end with one major project and I’m sure that will be challenging, but I know I can get it done.
Well that’s all for now.