August 21, 2013

SMH … (deep breath)

<rant on re: grad school>

I withdrew from a core class in Fall 2012 because my instructor and I had a fundamental disagreement regarding the concept of peer review. The primary assignment for that course was an ongoing project (create an Instructional Design Plan) that was submitted each week to a classmate for peer review. Once reviewed, the assignment was submitted for grading.

Fall semester, Week 1: Create a ‘goal statement’. Each subsequent assignment will build upon that statement.

I should clarify that I have struggled with the vernacular of Training & Development, so this class was quite a challenge. By the fourth week, my frustration was palpable and I vented … Oy! did I vent! My friend Kathryn Zaccari Kolencik offered to help. Imagine my surprise to find that Kathryn and I were pursuing the same degree at different universities AND that we were enrolled in essentially the same class, following the same syllabus and using the same text! Kathryn helped me to rewrite my goal statement and clarified several subsequent assignments.

Spring 2013 – I re-registered for the class in and confirmed that I would be allowed to use the same project from my previous attempt. Same process – complete an assignment, submit it for peer review, revise as necessary, and submit for a grade. I presented the same goal statement and received the following comment from my instructor:

“Nice work! You’ve laid a solid foundation for your IDP.”

Alrighty then … moving along. I continue to receive positive feedback from my classmates and instructor. At no point does anyone suggest that the goal statement needs to be rewritten.

In April, I requested an ‘Incomplete’ so I could take care of mom. (That mishagas is a whole ‘nother post). The school allows me the Incomplete; register for summer semester; do all my current course work; and agree to submit all final Spring assignments by 9/1/13.

Summer semester ends and I’m ready to dive in and finish the promised assignments – of course, by now I no longer have access to the online class, notes, discussions, instructions. I send several emails asking for access and additional direction from the instructor. <im my mind, I see a cartoon image of calendar pages flying off the desk>. Days pass and the deadline looms … finally, an email, the Program Director will be my point of contact going forward.

I contact him – mind you, it’s already August 15 and my deadline is September 1st. He tells me he will only be available for a very brief window during the coming 2 weeks and asks that I send him the project so far. I review, revise and update the project and send it to him that night, well in advance of our 9/20 meeting. He responds late 9/19:

“I reviewed your IDP. Overall, it looks very good and makes sense. However, the instructional goal or goal statement is not written in behavioral/performance terms.”

Uhh… WTF?!?!

The format of the #$(!%@& goal statement is WRONG?!?! You’re telling me NOW that the goal statement has been written incorrectly for not one, but TWO FARKING SEMESTERS?????

‘splain me how learning is achieved if the training and assessments are flawed? It’s a fracking degree in TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT!!!!!

And it isn’t even the final assignment – I still have to create an ‘Instructor’s Guide’ which is based on the … you guessed it … freaking incorrectly written goal statement.

<rant so far from over!>

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