Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An easy enough night. I only have to continue practicing my answers for my phone interview in Spanish tomorrow and then read almost 500 pages of Bernal Diaz del Castillo's account of the Conquest of New Spain. No big deal.

I gave up five extra credit points tonight for Latin American Civ. because I did not want to participate in the Atlatl throwing demonstration in the rain. It was probably cancelled again, anyway. October is typically mild and sunny, but this year the entire month has been nothing but cold and rain. Bleak.

My Spanish teacher promised us that he does not wake up mornings thinking of new ways to torture us. I don't believe him. I'm still not sure why we spent almost four class sessions watching a movie that most of us could not understand. Maybe he wants us to get used to hearing the language, which is a good idea. I'm in a Spanish conversation class, which means I forced to speak occasionally; unfortunately in my previous classes I was never required to speak Spanish and rarely heard the language spoken. Hence my complete terror when I have to go to class three days a week and attempt to say something less than idiotic in Spanish. I've joined a site called Livemocha, which is a lot of fun and I think will be helpful, at least it will be just as soon as the semester is over and I have time practice.

I absolutely have to have an outline for my Columbian Exchange paper by this Sunday evening. That will leave me six weeks to write a rough draft, turn it in to the prof. to receive a preliminary grade along with some (hopefully) helpful pointers for improvement, get it back, touch it up, and finally turn it in the last day of class. Six weeks. It's almost Halloween and I'm really feeling frightened!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's fall break so I have spent the last few days doing nothing but homework. A magazine article about John Stuart Mill to produce for my Ethics class; a test to take online for Latin American Civ., as well as a paper to write for the same class. I was having terrible writers block last night when my husband told me to stop thinking and start typing. Good advice, because it worked. I had five hundred words typed about Mayan culture before I knew it. Now on to the Aztecs and Incas.

I've felt quite overwhelmed with school lately. The semester is now half over things need to get done. I still have no outline for my big paper (10-20 pages)about the Colombian Exchange. I got an A on my Ethics mid-term and a B (very disappointing) on the history test I took Friday. I still don't have a grade on the British history test from two weeks ago. That's OK, because at this point I feel like no news is good news.

I don't even want to talk about Spanish class. We've been watching a Spanish movie (with no subtitles) and I don't understand a word of it. I don't know where he is going with this, but it can only be a bad place for me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Six weeks into the semester and school has become a little overwhelming right now. Everything seems to happen at once. A quiz in Latin American Civ., a test in Ethics, a Spanish article to explain in class (in Spanish, of course), and now my first big exam over the British Empire. This is a seated class, but the test is entirely on blackboard. I guess even seated classes don't want to have tests in class anymore. Is it considered old-fashioned to take test in class?

I hate to say this because I'm afraid it makes me sound old, but things sure have changed since I first went to college 20 years ago. No one had home computers back then; papers were typed on a typewriter at home(mine wasn't even electric!) and turned in, or written during class in a bluebook. Do bluebooks still exist anymore?

Teachers can now send e-mail notification to their entire class at once, about class cancellations or upcoming assignments. Back in the day, you had to actually show up at class before you found out by the note on the door that it had been cancelled. I can find a class syllabus or exam review online and don't necessarily have to have a printed copy anymore. No need to waste class time watching an instructional video when you can find the link on Blackboard and watch it at home whenever you have time. It's also nice to be able to e-mail the teacher to let them know why you have to miss class and to find out about any missed assignments.

Even tests can be taken at the students convenience. We have a three day window in which to take the British Empire test. I just wish we had longer than an hour and 15 minutes. That just doesn't sound like enough time for me to write an essay.

Even finding research material for a paper has changed. No more going to the library and looking through a card catalog; it's not necessary to actually go to the library at all to find a book. Just go online to the school library website, find the books you need, and have them reserved. You will be notified via e-mail when they are ready to pick up. No, they still don't deliver, that is one thing that hasn't changed.