Let me preface this with the fact that I have never taken an online class before, and that this has nothing to do with Professor Klinkowstein.
It seems like too long I have been forced to attend classes in which I learn one or two skills that “aid” me in “getting prepared” for the “real world” outside of the dorm room at which I call “home.”
Hofstra’s Computer Graphics class was offered as an online course for the fall semester of 2013. Somebody must have thought that that was a good idea. In fact, it sort of makes sense. A computer graphics class taking place solely on a computer? Genius. Who wouldn’t want to take such a class? You wouldn’t have to show up to an actual classroom, and all of the materials are set out in front of you on a device that you use for some insane amount of time on the daily. Genius.
Throughout the semester, assignments were given out on a weekly basis. There were blog posts, eight, in fact, that had to be done about some piece of technology that was up-and-coming. Posts had to be no more than 150 words, had to include links to other websites, and the actual review of how the piece of technology looks, I guess. I say “I guess” because the assignment itself sounds more like worthless, weekly busy work rather than something that will contribute to the delightful trove of knowledge that I have amassed from non-major classes I have taken here at the University. A maximum word count on a review is pointless. It defeats the purpose. Writers on nationally recognized blogs making more money than I will ever see aren’t limited to 150 words writing about some restaurant they just stumbled upon. To grade that review under such conditions is abysmal to a college student who is repeatedly told to “express his or her opinion.”
While I understand that blog posts are supposed to be succinct, the curriculum should have called for something more objective than a review, or should have been self-aware enough to realize that nobody outside of the university will be reading these blogs, rendering the word count irrelevant.
We’re in our twenties; we know how blogs work from our own experiences.
The actual assignments seemed as though they were put together using force rather than the elegance of educational association. Assignments were given to students via web document with only YouTube links (the YouTube links used to actually teach the class varied wildly in quality and clarity) to help us along our journey of learning an entirely new piece of software that we had to pay for ourselves. No educational discount. Sure, there are computers around campus with Adobe’s software installed the hard drive, but those computers are few and far between. Also, the will to travel to one of those computers is much weaker when enrolled in an online class.
I’m not going to take the time out of my busy schedule to take a picture of myself wearing a white t-shirt just to put a logo on it that I plastered together on a whim because I had not the first idea of what I was doing with the software just to get an e-mail saying “good.” Productive, informative classes are about student-teacher interaction. Students do better, academically, in a class when they are on amiable terms with their instructor. This class was almost defined by the lack thereof.
The “reviews of reviews,” as they are called, are even more fantastic wastes of time. If the University thinks that learning a particular subject includes 19 kids writing two paragraphs about how a review of Coca-Cola’s new liquid regurgitator that some hungover kid wrote on a Sunday morning is “great,” then I don’t know what the definition of “higher education” is.
The class would be much more practical, and cheaper, in a physical classroom.
As a whole, the class did not appeal to me as a class taking place in a classroom would have appealed to me. Therefore, the work did not get done. For that, I apologize, but I am not remorseful. I am a student in good standing with a 3.5 GPA. I am involved on campus with extracurricular activities and I am heavily involved in my major studies. As a student, I feel as though this course wasted my time. This is not a crack at the instructor, but, rather, it is a criticism of the university to offer an online course when an actual semester is in session. Assignments felt like busy work, and I had to teach myself everything that I know now about Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
I could have done the same thing on the job, two years from now, looking up videos to teach myself how to accurately complete a task in Illustrator or Photoshop. Can I put these two pieces of software on my resume now? Am I good enough at them? Or will I forget how to use them in a month just like every other class I have taken at this University?
You can fail me. The University can fail me. But when it comes down to what this course actually taught me as opposed to what I taught myself, sometimes the student isn’t wrong.