Sunday, July 13, 2008

Achieving Balance

Unless you thrive on punishing yourself, you will need to learn to balance your academic, business, and personal lives. This may not be easy to accomplish, especially for those who work full-time and have families. Hopefully you are already in control of the time you spend at work so the concentration of effort to balancing your life will be spent between academics and family obligations.

I made a decision when I entered graduate school that I would not put my family through the extreme absence of my time like they endured when I was an under-grad. To that end I dropped to half-time beginning with this quarter and will continue this schedule until graduation. This measure has afforded me the opportunity to spend more time with my family. Yesterday we took the morning to travel to another town to check out a house because we really wish to leave the town of our currant residence. Today, my daughter spent the morning and afternoon playing putt-putt, and riding go-karts and bumper-cars. I was still able to complete my assignments and discussions for the week and all the submissions were on schedule.

The total time spent on course-work for this week was about 24 hours. On a full-time schedule that would have more than doubled and I would not have had the opportunity to spend the quality time with my family. We would also not be able to move if I was participating in a full-time schedule. As it stands, in order to move I will need to complete my course-work for that week by that Friday in order to have the weekend off.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Journal Entry: Sunday July 6, 2008

Class starts tomorrow so I am taking the time to set up my schedule for the coming 10 weeks. I started by logging into the classroom and checking the on-line calendar of events. The university supplied me with a planner and each quarter they send out a set of stickers to annotate due-dates in the planner. This class requires at least one writing assignment each week, due on Sunday, so I will be spending plenty of time writing.

Most of the reading should be completed the first or second day of each class-week to permit time to participate in the discussions and complete the written assignment for the week. My normal routine is to complete the reading on Monday and Tuesday, complete the initial posts to the discussions on Wednesday through Friday, and work on the written assignments on Saturday and Sunday. The assignments are due by Sunday night midnight local time.

This will be the most intensive class to date and I will not get much sleep over the next 10 weeks. I will actually begin my reading today and post my bio tomorrow. I make sure and post a discussion on the first day of class to lock in the participation requirements for financial-aid (Participation is closely monitored.)

The time spent on course-work today will include about three hours reading and a half an hour setting up my calendar.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A New Class Begins

Today is Friday, the 4th of July and a new class begins on Monday the 7th. I received access to the course materials today and began perusing the contents. Early access to the materials permits the student to form a completion strategy before being thrust into the actual day-to-day routine. My method of preparation comprises the following:

  • Login to the class to ensure availability; any problems gaining access would prompt an immediate contact with learner support

  • Read all email and announcements posted by the professor to determine specific course requirements and the professor’s preferences

  • Browse the assignments and discussion questions to determine the course load

  • Read the syllabus for an overview of the course

  • Print the course calendar to reinforce due dates for DQ postings and assignments

This class will require the completion of at least three Discussion questions and one assignment per week and a course project will start in the second week to be completed by the end of the course. Comparing this course with the previous 26 I have taken in my online academic career shows this to be a relatively heavy class load.