Checking The Boxes That Must Be Checked

I recently started taking an online class. The first thing I need to do to take my content class (which is a prereq to a program I want to apply for) is to take a mandatory orientation class on online education. I did write a letter to the school, explaining that I work in online education, that I literally make videos for distant students, that I know how Blackboard works, and that I don’t need to be reassured that online classes are real classes, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out of taking this.

The entire thing was the sort of soul-crushing education machine that made me drop out of college when I was 19.   Teenage Meg expected to love college — I’ve always loved reading and learning! — but when I discovered my first year was almost entirely 100-level requirements, I really hated it. Even when I went back, I had a lot of trouble doing the required sitting down, shutting up, and checking the boxes you’re supposed to check. Mandatory assignments that existed to prove only that I’d done the required reading by the required deadline, and required no thought or interpretation, (usually handed to a bored TA who was required to mark a certain number of these meaningless quizzes) made it quite difficult to enjoy education.

Anyway, so yesterday I came home after a week of working in online education and watched a (rather second-rate) mandatory video on how online education works, and then I wrote three strengths and three potential weaknesses of online education, just as required, while trying to view this assignment as a means to an valuable end, and not a soul-crushing waste of time.

I alt-tabbed from this over to Twitter where I had a feeler for a possible speaking gig, where I’d be talking about education.

Prereqs are even stupider in my thirties than they were in my teens.

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2 Responses to Checking The Boxes That Must Be Checked

  1. Paul Owen says:

    I recommend staying away from a career in government. Mandatory time-wasting soul-crushing prerequisites are something of a staple of bureaucracy.

    • Meg Stivison says:

      Ugh. I have trouble with it in general, but it’s particularly hard to deal with when it’s educational. Do we have to suck all the enjoyment out of reading about something interesting?

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