Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring Semester Starts Today!

My spring semester begins today.  Fun! Not...  Actually it hasn't been too bad.  I logged in to my classes, did my introduction stuff in both classes, and even completed one assignment for my Spanish class.  =)  I'm taking Forensic Science for the Non-Scientist (perfect for me the VERY non-scientist!) and Spanish II and Culture.  So far so good, day one complete. 

A little overview of the way my classes work because people always ask how online classes work.  I'm enrolled in two right now and I usually enroll in two per semester to keep my sanity while working full time.  Maybe if I knew a particular class was going to be a cake walk, I'd enroll in three, but right now I'm sticking to two.  These classes go until May 9th.  The weeks run from Monday - Sunday with most, if not all, assignments due the Sunday of each week.  We typically have discussion questions which take the place of actual classroom conversation.  A question or topic is posted and we must answer/elaborate, then comment and discuss with our classmates.  For my Spanish class this is done on a voice board, where we actually record our voices and hear our classmates recordings as well.  We have to do this in Spanish.  In the first course, Spanish I and Culture, the first half of the class discussions were in English and the second half were in Spanish.  Interesting! For the voice board we also have to type out what we've said so that we can see in case someone pronounces something incorrectly.  So we usually have these discussions once a week and they last throughout the week.  The instructor posts it, generally on a Sunday night, and then we have all week to answer and discuss.  In addition to the discussion questions, we have assignments and readings.  Those are pretty much done once a week as well.  Sometimes if a particular week is a test or quiz week, we may not have an assignment or we may have one less assignment.  For tests we are usually timed from the moment we click "begin."  We're not proctored so it is all on the honor system.  Some classes have essays or papers as an alternative to the timed or structured tests.  I like those!

All-in-all it is great because we really can work at our own pace.  If I have plans over the weekend, I'll know to get my work done during the week, or vice versa if I have plans during the week.  I try to space my stuff out during the week, but sometimes it is hard to get motivated after the work day.  I do try to do bits and pieces throughout the week, though.  Then I double check that I've completed everything on the weekend.

So today I did my discussion stuff, did the voice board for Spanish, and I mapped out the rest of my week's assignments.  Hopefully I stick to the plan I've written out for myself and leave the weekend free! I know I'll need it!

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