Friday, September 26, 2008

Third of a semester done

Its hard to believe I have just completed the fifth week of school. It is going by very quickly. A few ups and downs, a few surprises, and quite a bit a learning. I am very glad I took the step to jump back in.

Lets start with my technical communications class. I did well, receiving A's on the first three assignments. The fourth was the issue. It was a group project. The professor assigned the groups based upon our profiles we submitted. I was assigned into a group that consistent of myself and two other non-traditional students.  Since this is a web delivered class, I had not actually met the other individuals in person. Since almost all my recent working experience is with remote teams, many of which I have never met, this was nothing new.  I took the initiative two weeks before the assignment to introduce myself over email, explain my concern about waiting until the last minute, and to propose a process which would ensure a quality product with good contribution from all. I even proposed to write the first draft.  The other two agreed. This would be the last I would hear from one of them.  The first intermediate deadline came and past.  I was the only one to complete that step.  I wrote the first draft and submitted to the others. One of the others submitted a rework of the first paragraph and promised more later. This would be the last I would hear from either person.  I submitted the paper on time with no acknowledgment from either.  I was pissed off to no end.  The paper received an 88 which I was happy with, but the lack of contribution was very annoying.  My grade average is still in the A range. My biggest issue is that I have three more collaborative assignments with the same people.

On to the good news, Biology.  I have truly enjoyed this class. I am still reading many chapters ahead and have maintained a perfect score so far on 4 quizzes.  I expect to have achieved close to that on my 5th quiz and first exam, which will be returned to me on Tuesday. We have studied the foundational biology and chemistry concepts, cell structures, membrane, and started metabolism this last week. Photosynthesis lectures and labs begin next week. There is a ton of new concepts and lots of new vocabulary. This was one of the areas where I was concerned when I started.  I was afraid that the detailed terminology would be an issue. Obviously from my performance so far, that issue has not presented itself.  I have put extra effort into memorization which has helped.

I have been thinking about what I might be able to take next semester.  I need to continue into the second half of General Biology, but I also hope to get into Ornithology. I will have to get the professor's approval as a full year of General Biology is a prerequisite.  I would only have completed the first half, but would be taking teh second half in parallel.  I want to push it as Ornithology is only offered every two years.

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