Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Could Get Used to This...But Probably Shouldn't

When I started taking online classes at Coursera a few weeks ago, I thought it would get me back into routine of being a student without the precise scheduling.  I figured it would be a low pressure way to recondition myself to committing to schoolwork and serve as a stepping stone towards going back to school for real in the near future.

Little did I know that the site would completely ruin the traditional educational format for me.

Yes, three assignments into my very first online Coursera course, I expect that I can not only wait until the last minute to finish my assignments, but I can cram all the lectures into an afternoon.  Depending how alert I am on a particular day, I can even use the video player's speed option to make the professor ramble on faster so that an hour lecture can be heard in half the time.  Granted, he then sounds like the old Micro Machines Guy, but it saves time.  If I had to show up to a lecture hall two days a week to do my learning now, I would surely distract the rest of the class with my loud, annoyed sighs.

Furthermore, I don't see how I ever made it through all my previous schooling without the ability to multi-task while attending class.  I can get all sorts of things done now as I carry my laptop with me around the house and listen to the professors.  I do laundry, eat lunch and browse other websites.  If the option of cracking open a beer in the middle of class were now taken away from me, I'm not sure how I would react.  Don't even get me started about how many lectures I've already listened to while sitting on the toilet.

Yes, the site is amazing.  Yes, you can take classes from real life professors from the likes of Harvard, Princeton and Yale.  Yes it is undeniably convenient.  Yes, I am learning a great deal and having a lot of fun.  However, I am no longer able to function as a real world student and I am afraid of what this may mean for me when I attempt to return to school and pursue an actual degree.

My biggest fear is that since I have become so accustomed to dressing down, often taking in sessions from the comfort of my own bed, that those terrible dreams I used to have about showing up to class in my underwear may finally come to fruition.

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