This is another installment of an ELGL original content series titled “An MPA From My Apt.” by University of Southern California MPA distance graduate program student Josh Halladay. Halladay is sharing his experiences with a distance learning program in the hopes of providing perspective and support to other students who are pondering a degree using a distance or online program.
What’s the most interesting place you ever had class? I only ask the question because I know that the answer I provide will be better. I’m not talking about field trips to the zoo or where you ditched to when the teachers weren’t looking (frankly, I think I still have you covered there), but strictly class. I attended from my car.
It was the third of July and I decided to take a last minute trip home to Portland, a 10 hour drive from Reno (ugh). Due to my workload I hadn’t initially planned on making the trip and in my split second decision to go, I forgot that I had class that night. Missing a class is not a big deal since the professor records it to be watched later, but then one must do a write-up to prove they watched the video. I wanted to spend time with friends and family when I got home. I wasn’t having none of that write up. So, I decided to use the call in feature.
I was listening to the meeting from 6:25 to 7:30 on my crappy little Bluetooth. I couldn’t see the chat box, and therefore couldn’t ask the professor any questions. Had there been a slideshow I wouldn’t have been able to see it. And my professor sounded kind of funny. But, I was able to catch the majority of what he and the rest of the class said, and most importantly I didn’t have to spend an hour at home listening to the replay or any extra time doing that write up. Not to mention I was able to change up the drive a little bit which made it go by quicker. I will note that the next week I still made sure I was at my computer at 6:30, but the convenience of the call in option made my life that much easier. Try asking a professor in a traditional program if they will let you call in instead of attending class in person. I’m picturing the look on their face right now.
In other news, the group I mentioned in my last post was tasked with another assignment submission this last week. I attempted to use the empowerment approach to see if they would buy-in more. When neither of my partners took initiative Monday (submission due on Friday) I took the lead Tuesday and asked how they would like to go about completing it. One replied saying they couldn’t find the feedback from the first submission (he was the same one who relayed incorrect instructions in the first go around) and the other didn’t respond for some time. Again, I took the lead and laid out a plan which everyone agreed to. This time the group worked slightly better as only one did not follow through on what they said they would do. The other actually made suggestions in the plan and even volunteered to get the document started.
I am happy to say I only have to work with them for one more submission. Any suggestions for how to get the last group member to follow through?