Last September, I audited a basic on-line computer science course, CS 100. Initially, I had intended to share weekly insights on my life as a non-traditional college student, but circumstances and general life stuff made things crazy in our household. Well, to be quite honest, trying to write about a subject matter completely foreign to me did not seem appealing or within the scope of the blog.
If you know me, then you know I am a planner through and through. This is probably why I enjoyed working in emergency preparedness planning during my single working days. But having left the field of defense analysis and homeland security and moving into a brand new field of blogging, there were some new job skills I felt like I needed to acquire, specifically computer science. Now that the semester is over, I can share some insights on some of the things I learned as an auditing college student.
1. Computer Science is fun at first glance.
2. Computer Science is hard when you get to the nitty gritty.
3. Having a knowledgeable lab partner helped me to stay engaged in class.
From day one, I sat in my kitchen trying to see a tiny white board on a 2×3” computer screen. (Moodle, the college’s online learning platform, only allowed that much space of video interfacing.) I was squinting and trying to hear everything from a few miles away from the classroom. It certainly was no easy task.
However, if you’re sitting in the classroom, you don’t have to log onto Moodle. Why would you? You can see and hear the professor right in front of you, but one student took the chance. And because of one kind move, I no longer felt like I was sitting alone in cyberspace trying to be a part of the class. The on-line human interaction helped me to connect with other students.
There were moments when I wanted to quit halfway through the course, especially when I missed a semicolon or comma. Because when one piece of code didn’t work, the entire program wouldn’t run – just blank space. It wasn’t like a history paper, where you could misquote or misidentify a date in history and still hand in an assignment. Programming was all or nothing.
Then there were days when my kids got sick or when little Linus did not want me to sit in front of my computer screen. Also, my lab partner had days when he couldn’t make it to class, and we we helped one another to catch up on reading discussions and lab assignments, which was part of the supportive network of learning.
4. Computer Science can help you be creative.
The professor ended the semester with some words of wisdom, spoken like a true educator. He emphasized that even in the world of computer science, there is much room for creativity. After all, we are created beings.
All semester long, he gave hints towards this idea that as we become more connected to one another through the Internet, and as jobs are becoming more automated, students need to think about where they can find a niche and carve out a creative space. That’s where they will find jobs after graduation.
I don’t know if other students took to heart his final words of the semester, but something from that lesson resonated in my heart about pursuing my passion to marry culture and creativity. Part of my liberal arts education will help me to continue on that path towards learning about other cultures. My research and analytical skills will help me in that process. The creative aspect may need some further education. The more I researched on-line, the more I realized how many other well-established crafty bloggers are out there. I don’t want to reproduce the same material. I’ve got to carve out a creative niche that adds a different perspective to amazing content already on-line.
Learning is a lifelong process, whether it be in the field you are currently in or in pursuit of another. Let’s never stop pursuing a culture of learning.
From my hometown to yours,
Betty[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]