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October 3, 2011

Bad student?

Online assignment descriptionA few weeks ago I eagerly started an online class about creating apps for the iPhone. It's something I'm interested in, and it is clearly related to my job, teaching Interactive Media. I was highly-motivated, am good with the computer, and I'm a fairly bright guy. The kind of student I'd like to have in my classes.

And six weeks later I'm a drop-out. Does that mean I'm actually a bad student?

No, and in thinking about this I've picked up yet more empathy for my own students who are balancing work, school and family. It's tough.

What happened?

I stopped my involvement with the class for two reasons. First, I'm nearly swamped with the work needed to keep up with the classes I'm teaching. I spend most of my waking hours preparing for class, grading assignments, and staying in touch with students via email, Facebook and Blackboard.

I also set aside time for eating (usually), sleeping (6-7 hrs/night) and spending time with friends and family (much less than I'd like to).

So, time to work on my online class assignments...pretty far down the priority list.

The second reason is that when I finished the first 3 assignments successfully, it was easy to move on to the next. But the fourth week stumped me. I finished the project but my "app" didn't do what it was supposed to. I read and re-read the book, checked and double-checked my code, and still it didn't work.

When I didn't get an immediate response to my email to the instructor (me being the typical demanding, impatient student!) I lost interest. Everything else needing my time seemed more important than continuing to struggle with my class assignment. I gave up.

I don't consider this a failure, but there's a lesson to be learned here. Just not sure what.

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