So Far, So Good

Returning to a classroom setting proved easier than expected. Maybe it was all the time spent participating in panels at Stony Brook’s campus during countless I-Cons or I was over-thinking the whole thing.

With two days of classes under my belt, I will state that I think I can do this. I am certainly disciplined enough to manage my time and fit it all in. The trick, though, seems to be timing things so I can actually find a parking space in the multi-level parking garage and still make the 9:30 class. The line to enter the structure then the slow snake through the levels requires more time that it does to arrive there from home.

The Statistics class has about 26 students and there’s another 52 year old present along with some in their 30s and 40s even though the average age is about 20. In fact, we used the class ages as raw data so the teacher could show us how many different ways it can be charted, quantified and analyzed.

The catch has been MathXL, the online program where we will do our homework and communicate with the teacher. In addition to the overpriced textbook, you need an access code which is either bundled into the cost of the book or purchased separately. The used copy I bought online had an intact access code and I figured I was set. Apparently not because Pearson cleverly offers three different sites tied to the same book and I had the wrong one, which was learned when unsuccessfully logging in to all three sites. Pearson’s crack customer support (e-mail only) promised 24 hour turnaround to questions and I am at hour 60 and counting. I wrote the teacher who looped in her Pearson rep who explained the difference and said I had to buy a MathXL access code. I complained that the teacher should have specified which code was required with the text book.

Yesterday, I grumbled, paid the price, and did the two homework assignments awaiting me. So far, I seem to be getting the basics of statistics although the logic in problem solving will daunt me now and then (I just don’t think that way).

On the other hand, History of Theater looks to be tremendous fun. We’re a far smaller class and most of the students know one another and there’s an energy to the room. Our conversations have been lively and our teacher encourages dialogue and questioning. We’ll be reading play excerpts in class and reading about the international history of theater which will prove fascinating.

I have about 90 minutes between classes so I sit with coffee and a bagel, reviewing class notes or reading a magazine. I admit to people watching as well, seeing the interactions, fashion, technology and the like. This aspect could be as educational as the coursework.

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