No Fancy Name
Saturday, July 31, 2004
so, the cool news from the other day is...
I get to be a teacher! I was asked by the good folks at Online School of Design to develop and teach a course called "Databases and Dynamic Web Design". Yeah, I think I can handle that. If you know me personally (or maybe I've blathered on about it, somewhere in my blog), then you know that all I've ever really wanted to do is teach. There are things about me that make it not such a wonderful thing to stand up in front of a room full of people, so obviously I don't do it. But I always wanted to, and I even had the mindset of "screw it, whatever" and was going to do a Linguistics MA so I'd be qualified to teach comp classes in the community colleges here, but the stupid classes are taught in the fricking middle of the damn day so that's out the window...and another story for another time. Anyway, I get to be a teacher.

(Those of you who are real academics, please don't laugh. In no way do I equate teaching and online class with a "special topic" license from the New York State Board of Education, with the subjects you teach and methodologies used to teach them. Teacher "you" != Teacher "me", and I certainly recognize that!)

Anyway, is an online school that offers single classes as well as three levels (standard, advanced, master) of certificate programs in graphic design, Web design, multimedia, digital arts, and business marketing design. My class would be a required course for a few different tracks within the various levels of the Web design certification; there are currently about 500 students in the Web track. Since students take classes at their own pace, they can start it whenever they want, and work through the lessons as they feel comfortable. The underlying software application is actually pretty good -- and I'm the first one to disparage poorly-designed software. Each lesson has a lecture followed by a quiz and exercise (more like a project, in this case) that they turn in to me. I give them feedback, or have them do it again, and the cycle goes on. I was told it would be reasonable to expect an average of 10-15 new students per month, which is just fine with me. Of course, I'd welcome more than that, because I get paid per student, in addition to a chunk for developing the course.

I know this isn't spectacular news of relevance to everyone, certainly not worthy of the teaser the previous post turned out to be (I didn't mean to do that!). In fact, when I told my bestest bud, the conversation went something along the lines of "but you hate dealing with dumbasses" (which is true). I tried to explain that it's different when you get paid to do it (it is to me, at least) but she didn't buy that. She reminded me that we have clients who are dumbasses, I hate dealing with them, and they pay us. I have my own definition of dumbass, and students who are learning something for the first time, who are paying a chunk of change to take a class and thus will (likely) put forth a fair amount of effort, do not fit the definition. They may eventually, but that's their problem. Dumbasses are people who don't try, and expect you to do their work for them. Or, they're people who buy a $20 book and think that gives them the right to call you at your workplace instead of looking for help on that pesky Internet thing. Dumbasses are clients who don't remember certain things about design or process, which you've gone over every month (for years) with them, and then screw up your workflow and their schedule because they're idiots who don't "get" things. You get the picture. Students are not dumbasses until their throw away their opportunities and start taking up space. I may get some of those, sure, but the structure of the school, the certification programs, the lessons, and oh yeah, the cost, sort of filters all those out.

So, I'm stoked.


job / books / new blog

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