Well, I guess my changes helped on Task 1 since I received an email saying that it passed. *cheer* What a relief! I feel like I'm actually getting somewhere...finally.
I keep reading about TaskStream
Stalkers on the WGU Facebook page
, but since both times I've submitted something, I've received an email, I don't see the point in "stalking".
Since I stopped work on Task 2 while I revised Task 1, I now feel like I need to re-read/watch everything. Bummer. I think for next time, I'll submit Task 2, start on Task 3 and finish it before I go back and do any revisions on Task 2, if they're needed. I thought about doing that for this task, but since this was my first one, I thought that I might benefit from the feedback and could then apply it to Task 2. We'll see how it goes.
Oh my goodness! I received a wonderful surprise in the mail today! No, it wasn't a new pair of sparkly, pink, running shoes, but it did get me moving. I received my Student Success Kit. It's filled with lots of cool WGU stuff. My favorite being the WGU coffee mug that says, "liquid motivation". Nice. It's not my favorite style of mug, the handle is much too thin, but I've been using it every day since I received it. I also got some post-its, a stress ball, mouse pad, an assignment calendar and a huge binder. How very cool is that? I already feel like my $3000 tuition is paying for itself. Oh AND there's a card so that you can send off for a free WGU t-shirt. I spent tons more than that at the University of Wisconsin and only received bills.
Wow. A lot has happened since I last wrote. As I've mentioned before, I'm in the MBA program at WGU and the first business class is human resources. Oh joy! I knew going in, that having HR first would either be a blessing or a curse because I've got some actual work experience doing it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be somewhat the latter.
My first task is to write a memo to the CEO regarding an employee who is claiming that we've discriminated against him. WGU stresses that they don't care what exact format your memo is in, nor do they give a specific page minimum or limit. Awesome! My first thought is that I'm writing to a CEO, so the memo should be concise, direct, and that I should not assume anything. Since this is a graduate level course, I shouldn't be afraid of thinking outside the box and looking for sources that weren't directly in the suggested reading. Details are my enemy so I (sometimes) try and overcompensate for that. What I struggled with most on this task was the fact that there really weren't
any details. The dude quit because he felt like he'd been discriminated against. How am I supposed to make a recommendation when I don't have all of the information that I want or need? Worse yet, how do I not assume
things? I emailed the course mentor and didn't get much info from him. *groan* I talked with my student mentor, Kelly, and she reminded me that this was the first time I was actually submitting something to be graded, and that since I didn't know what to expect, to do my best and see what happened. (I think basically she was regurgitating my "pasta theory" of, when you don't know what to do, start throwing pasta at the wall and see if something sticks. A lot of the time it won't, but if something does, great, if not try again
I was frustrated at this point (I seriously don't mean for "frustration" to be the theme of this blog!) but didn't know what else I could have added to make it better. I fully expected to receive it back. WGU has a policy thingy where you must pass each criteria of the rubric to pass the entire task; it's all or nothing. What is nice is that you can see the rubric (rubric is just a fancy word for "scoring criteria") ahead of time so that you have a better idea of what to focus on. Unfortunately, the rubric (at least for this task) is as vague as the scenario so it didn't help much.
Nonetheless, I turned in my first task to a website called TaskStream. They talk a lot about it in EWB, so it's not big deal to do. The most important thing so far, is to remember to save your work in rich text format. No idea why, but it prefers RTF to doc. Work is supposed to be graded and returned in 3-5 business days so I started on Task 2 while I waited for the results.
I fully expected to get my task back. I hoped not, but since this was the first one, I figured I had a lot to learn. I was correct. Of the 7 criteria, I passed only 3. *groan* One of the comments said to define XXX. This was perplexing to me because in my paper I said, "The definition of XXX is YYY". What the heck were they looking for?
I emailed Kelly and let her know that I received it back and she called me within the hour. How sweet! She gave me an extra-good pep talk and some pointers. To my knowledge, Kelly does not know what exactly the assignment was, nor can she see what I submitted. I didn't get far that afternoon. (My friend called to talk about her favorite subject: herself, because she was bored while driving from Dallas to Austin. This despite the fact that I told her what I was working on. Since I have no backbone, I didn't have the nerve to tell her that she was seriously sucking my mojo from me.)
Since I was still at a loss for where to go on my paper, I decided to re-watch a webinar that the course mentor had done, where she give some tips for how to approach the task. In it, she advised that if we get a paper back, to contact the course mentor for some feedback. On a whim, I decided to do just that. We emailed a few times, before setting up a time to talk that afternoon. Guess what? He couldn't have been a nicer fellow. He has an extensive background in HR and said that when he read my paper, he thought it was great. If he'd been grading it, he would have given me a passing grade. SWEET! Positive reinforcement. I needed that. Regardless though, I had to realize that although the instructions said that I was writing for a CEO, I was in fact, writing for a grader who may or may not have a background in HR. He suggested that I really focus on only using the resources that were assigned to answer the questions. He advised me to limit some of my creativity and focus only on what was directly at hand. I didn't like his answer, but as I explained to him, "School is a game and right now I'm uncertain of the rules of the game, so it's difficult to play by them. There are going to be rules that I don't agree with, but when I enrolled, I agreed to play by them. At least when I know the rules, it makes it easier to follow them". He absolutely agreed. Double SWEET!
Last night I re-submitted my Task 1. This time, I was purposely redundant in my responses, knowing that the graders treat each question on it's own merit. I'm hopeful that this time it'll come back as ok but we'll see. I feel like this paper was much different than the last one, much more academic and less business, but if it gets me to a pass, I'm ok with that.
What I also learned is that when you have to re-do a task, it takes all of the wind out of your sails for the next task that you've started while waiting for the first one to be graded. I don't have the luxury of time with this course, but in the future, if I have time, I may give myself the reward of the 3-5 days off, after completing a task, before diving in to the next, in case it gets returned and I have to do revisions. I had to re-learn everything for Task 1 when it was returned, and now I need to re-learn Task 2 so that I can move on with it. I do think that I'll be looking at it with different eyes
I haven't written in what seems like forever. I started two weeks ago and finished the Education Without Boundaries course before I left for the Windy City, but didn't get much work done there. Do you know that Chicago was not originally called the Windy City because it has more wind than the average city, but rather because it's residents were considered to be braggarts? I must say, after spending a few days there in a $60/night 23rd floor highrise condo (thank you Airbnb!), looking over Navy Pier, the Chicago River, and Lake Michigan, I'm ready to move...then someone reminds that I was there for the one nice week of the entire year. Oh, and if you like big city marathons, this is definitely a good one. My hubby and I are not fast runners, preferring to get our money's worth. We came in just before the 9 months pregnant lady who started having contractions during the marathon and gave birth shortly after. Woot!
The second class, after EWB is human resources. (Shit!) One would think that because I have several years of experience working in this field, it would be easy. Unfortunately, I think all of that is working against me. I spoke with my mentor yesterday during one of our mandated hour-long calls. Seriously? Is this really necessary? We talked about school for about 20 minutes, and about how her husband recently ran a 15k marathon. That's equivalent to about 9.3 miles, unlike the actual marathon I ran of 26.2 miles.
I mentioned to her that there is a lot of assigned reading that doesn't seem to directly relate to the tasks (exams), and she said that I should read them for fun. Great thought lady, but I want to get my money's worth here, too. That means getting through as many courses as I can, as quickly as I can.
I emailed the course mentor for HR and was given a similar, "well everything is there, so you should be able to find it" answer. If I could find it, I WOULDN'T BE ASKING YOU!
Right now I'm extremely frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. I'm not much of a fighter.
I promised myself and my hubby that I wouldn't let little things, even if they seem like big things, keep me from this goal.
It's Monday morning and instead relishing in the fact that I've earned my first graduate-level college credit, I'm sitting here frustrated.
My frustration first came on Friday afternoon, around 4PM when I received an initial email from my student mentor, Kelly. WGU is big on mentors, it seems, and this is the one who is supposed to stick with me until I graduate and serve as my advocate/cheerleader. She sent an email, much of it written in RED (yeah, it hurt my eyes too). It instructed me to start EWB on Oct. 1 (Saturday) and plan to be done by Oct. 8. Now this is all fine, and I probably would have done it anyway, but since I'm not working, and most of my races are on the weekends, I'd rather do my studying on the weekdays. Being told in red that I needed to start on Saturday just plain annoyed me. The next instruction is that I was to choose two dates and times from the options given, so that we could have our initial meet 'n' greet. This is fine, but at least get the dates right. Oct. 3 (2011) is a Monday, not a Tuesday. I understand, everyone makes mistakes. What gets my gizzard is that it also said that I should respond quickly to the email, which I did.
Despite the fact that to my close friends, I can be a complete smart-ass, I only do it behind peoples' backs. I can't even confront the sandwich guy who mistakenly put tomatoes (to which I am psychologically allergic) on my sammich. Thus, despite the fact that there was some confusion in the email from my mentor, I cautiously tip-toed around it using an HR approach of "I think I may be misunderstanding" and "Perhaps I'm reading my calendar wrong, but it appears as if...". Since I don't know if she meant Oct. 3 (today) or Tuesday, and I haven't heard back from her, I feel like I need to sit alert and wait because what if she calls and I'm not at attention? Ugh. I realize this is a personal problem of mine. Some day I'll figure out how to stick up for myself.
Here it is, Day 2 of my experience as a student with WGU and so far, I'm extremely underwhelmed and a bit frustrated.
I received an email yesterday, Oct. 1 around 8AM that told me that I now had access to the first class, Education Without Boundaries (EWB). It's my understanding that the purpose of the class is similar to a new employee orientation. In the initial email, I'm also told that if I have any questions with this course, I should contact the EWB Mentors, and not my student mentor.
Some of the modules are pretty basic, such as showing you how to set up your signature in Gmail. Others talk about academic integrity, APA writing style, and time management. At the end of some modules there are 5 question, multiple-guess quizzes. For reasons that I do not know, we are supposed to take the quiz as many times as it takes, to get all of the questions right. There are no trick questions, and they're pretty basic. Some questions and "correct" answers I question, but whatever. Some modules have tasks or activities that you must perform before moving on. A few examples are sending an email to your EWB mentors with your newly-created signature (and not having them acknowledge it), and commenting on the discussion boards. I'm not quite sure why there is such an emphasis on responding to questions such as: "What would you do with your time if you graduated a term early?" and "What will your life be like after you graduate?". Some of the questions ask you what your background is or how you'll apply your supposedly new-found time management skills. One of the things I hated about working in HR was all of the ass-kissing it required. After reading some of the responses to these questions from my peers, I felt like I was back in the corporate world, listening to bullshit phrases that people use to make themselves sound important so they can keep their jobs. I guess I should have expected this, being in the MBA program, but...
Overall, the presentations are boring, the narrators are monotone, and just read what's on the screen, but I understand the purpose. I get it, ok?
I was working my way along yesterday and today, and felt quite confident that I could finish the class today, in time for me to (maybe) speak with my mentor as early as tomorrow. It took me several hours (7+) but I finally got to Module 11, which is MBA-specific. Along the way through the modules, there are checklists for each activity. One activity was to find a calendar in one of the discussion boards. Another was to have read the book, Ten Day MBA
. It wasn't available within the module, so I requested it via my local library. This isn't too big of a deal since I have until Oct. 8th to finish the class.
I admit it, I'm somewhat of a Facebook stalker, and all day today, I kept reading about how people were finishing EWB in 1 hours, 2 hours, and 4 hours. What? Really? How is that even possible if you actually listen/watch the presentations? I'm not sure how many of the folks on the Facebook page are in the MBA program, but anyone who says that s/he has finished the class and
read the book in 5 or 6 hours is lying
. I've got no problem saying it behind someone's back.
Since I had trouble locating the discussion thread, I did what I thought I was supposed to do; I sent an email to my EWB mentors for some assistance. I also mentioned not having time to have read the book yet, as a way of trying to get someone to tell me that it's ok to read it later. I'm not much for details or following rules when they don't make sense (to me) but I'm really trying here. We'll see what tomorrow brings. _______________________________________________________________________
I heard back from an EWB Mentor. She said that she was the wrong person to contact, but that she'd CC'd the correct person. It's 6:40PM and I've yet to get any feedback. So far, the WGU experience is far below expectations.