Saturday, August 30, 2008

Licking my Wounds

Two weeks ago I signed up for an On-Line Class on HTML programming. I’ve wanted to take this class for years, but it was never offered locally. So, with encouragement from a friend, I became a student again. Previous on-site classes at this college were most enoyable and successful.

Since I am of an advanced age (uh hem!) I can take the 3-hour class for $39.00 – what a deal! I already own several HTML-related books, but you know, sometimes a person needs a push, an incentive, and signing up with a friend was the incentive to actually LEARN HTML. I knew I would miss the personal interaction with others.

I declined to take the prerequisite class “On Line Learning” ..I already know a thing or two, …said to myself … “hey, I’ve had a blog for 2 years, made a few changes to it, use various computer programs at work, and graduated in my 50s Cum Laude – I’m reasonably intelligent!”

Well, I’ll spare you the gory details – the HTML part is the easy part, but the computer interface with the college was the most exasperating experience I’ve ever encountered. My friend, as well as the instructor helped me all they could, but today, after 3 hours of failure, I sat here in TEARS, feeling stupid, inept, a failure, trying to find my way around instructions, the syllabus, my book that instructed me to download the files from the site, the site that told me to read the book, a site where I couldn’t maneuver to FIND the files, so many options, tools, files that did not open, reminders that I owed money (NOT!), passwords that did not work, suggestions to change browsers (that’s another whole 3 day problem!). And experiencing hot flashes every 20 minutes did NOT improve the situation!!!

I e-mailed the Instructor and thanked him and politely said “I quit.”

During these failed efforts to navigate, I had the most awful sense of de ja vu, remembering the only position I was fired from – something felt really similar to THAT job, a job where I was totally clueless as to what was needed, where there was neither training nor instruction. -- my gosh, just like one of those dreams we have occasionally!!!)

So, TEACHERS, suggestions? Is there anything you can tell me about learning styles that will get me past my feeling of failure? Quitting makes me feel awful!


Candace said...

If you want someone to sympathise with you, I'll give you my daughter's email address. She just went through a similar horrible experience, but had to finish because of financial reasons. Her class was on Microsoft office, and she had to muddle through with many different problems, the worst of which was they had already condensed an 8 week class into 4 weeks, and then the teacher didn't post anything until there was only 1 week left, so basically besides all the computer issues, she had to do an 8week class in 1 week. It was awful. That's only the tip of the iceberg. I feel from the beautiful work that you do that you are a perfectionist and expect a lot from yourself, and I am sure that given a fighting chance that you would have overcome everything.

sMC said...

lol sorry dear Elaine....come on over for a cuppa and a muffin. and of course the necessary chat.
Now html...wots that.
I do as my dear son, who works with computers but never had enough time to teach me. Said
oh come on mum its just trial and error, never the compuer just you are not reading it properly. So there I go trial and error.
btw what is it exactly that you want to do, I have found that there is more than one way to skin a rabbit. hugs across the waters.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Elaine, I guess I do know how you feel. This kind of thing has happened to me a time or two. It just is so incredibly frustrating. I'm sorry you had to go through this.

Joyce said...

That sounds so frustrating but programming is very difficult and takes a lot of time to learn. I'm lucky that my kids and grandkids are very much into computers so I just ask them. Lol. Maybe the best cure is to go back to quilting. You are definitely successful at that!

Sheila in Ohio said...

I graduated in a recent couple of years, so I know of what you speak. I love online classes, but the website interfaces and links leave much to be desired, at least where I attended. They were not cohesive or self-contained, so I can totally see why you were pulling your hair out. And as I type this, I envision HTML students having something to do with it. ;)

Years ago, when I bought our first "top-of-the-line" (2MB hard drive, DOS 3.1?) computer, I learned everything about computers that I could, and taught my son. Technology changes so fast; I wish I had that edge now.

Anywhooo.. hugs and best of luck when you try again. It's not you that needs adjusting.

Marilyn said...

Don't give up entirely. You can do this if it's meant to be. You might need more one on one with a teacher.

ozjane said...

I do not see this as quitting but as making a wise decision to opt out of a badly planned and laid out course with inadequate assistance and instuctors who obviously did not care.
When you teach a child you try to find out what is blocking learning. You do not allow them to just walk away. Why should this be allowed in adult learning.
Makes me very cross. Support should be just that....whatever the individual needs.
I would be sending in a reasoned critique of the program and asking are their reasons why it could not be made more user friendly. Or maybe were there 'hidden' prior requirements which you were not advised of.
Bite a b.m

Elaine Adair said...

To no-replay ozjane above --
YOU are exactly the person I was hoping to hear from! Your first paragraph is so eloquent, and is exactly what I was thinking but did not have the words. Thank you. And I DO think it WAS a wise decision for me.

Elaine Adair 8-))