Monday, January 09, 2006

Caution-slow blogging ahead

it is the first day of winter term as I get ready to return to one of the WORST investments I've ever made in my life -- taking a computer degree at Lane Community College.

but what can you do, I spent a lot of money and I'm almost done with the program, so might as well finish it.


Anonymous gullyborg said...

don't be discouraged. hang on; it's worth it in the long run.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Dare!PDX said...

It is worth it. Knock it out and move forward. My time at Portland Community College was well spent and the professors were well worth the money I spent.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Bob H. said...

Robin, could you please elaborate on why you don't think your class at LCC was not worth it. I am concidering classes there. Thank you, Bob H.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

sure. i'd be glad too.
check back tomorrow night (I just got in at 9:10pm) and I'll be glad to elaborate.

9:12 PM  
Blogger the Robot Vegetable said...

Plus you have two years toward a B.S. - transfer to the UO.

11:00 PM  
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7:29 AM  
Blogger Robin said...


10:00 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Plus you have two years toward a B.S. - transfer to the UO.
unfortunately that is not the way it works. – I will explain later

About LCC.

If you are thinking about going there, here is something that you need to think about if you EVER have been to any type of college before and your thinking of financial aid read this, else skip to the bottom for more about the classes them selves.

THE MAXIMUN CREDIT LIMIT which states that Per federal regulations, students must complete their degree within 150% of the credits required for their program. Regulations require institutions to count all attempted credits even if financial aid was not received [paid for out of your own pocket] or the course work not successfully completed. Attempted credits include audits, transfer credits, incompletes, dropped courses and repeated or failed classes
"At Lane, a student is expected to complete a one year program within 75 attempted credits or a two year program within 150 attempted credits."[source]
The key word here is "All attempted credits" in your lifetime at any school.
To clarify. If you sign up for a course and did not complete it for any reason, that counts TOWARDS your LIFETIME ATTEMPTED CREDITS no matter how they were paid for or what ever reason that you took the classes.

It did not take long for me to hit the maximum credit limit because I took classes at LCC in 1975 and earned 69 credits; in addition, over the years I took a couple extra classes for training for my job. These are all counted!

I was not informed by the counselor of this when we set up the first schedule. Later when I inquired why, the reply was that the counselors were instructed not to counsel students on financial aid. [They are quick to say that bad advice from an adviser is not an excuse.]

When you get the warning, you have to file an appeal and beg for forgiveness.

My original plan was in two years to walk away with both a networking & program degree. However, under the appeal you're only allowed to go for one degree. Therefore, the time and money that I spent on the other courses was wasted and added to my list of "attempted" lifetime credits.

It did not stop there... the maximum credit limit kept raising its ugly head for the next year and a half.

I got tired of being punished and throwing my money away. So I starting fighting back.
I called the federal board of education; the same folks that they say made the rules and was told that the colleges have to abide by the minimum federal standards, HOWEVER they can add to the rules.
I told him about my experience with them including the credits of 30 years ago, and he said that he NEVER heard of that before and that is NOT the intent of the rules themselves.
The quality of LCC Classes suck! Or I just don't know how to pick the good instructors.
Writing 121 (comprehensive writing) Other students that took another instructor had to do weekly essays. Not my class... my class was an "experimental" [instructor's words] which turned out to be Black history month where instead of writing essays, we were required to read the works of Richard Wright and answer a few questions. I did not know until later that he was not teaching us what the catalog said that he was supposed to do. We didn't touch on writing essays, sentence structure or anything that had to do with writing an essay.

WR122 (argumentative writing) in this class, we discussed different letters to the editor and looked up a bunch of 15 letter words and wrote three essays which were peer reviewed by people like me who don't know how to write an essay.
The instructor hardly ever got out of her chair, offered no examples and did nothing more than narrate the class. Another waste of time and money.

SP111(public speaking) an elective -- (maybe here I might learn how to write an essay) NOPE! She ASSUMED that the students already knew how to write essays, rough drafts and outlines. [None of my previous two writing courses covered those either]

As a result, last term which was my first term at the University of Oregon where you have to know how to write an essay. At midterm, I was failing miserably with no way to recover, simply because I did not know how to write an essay. I was forced to drop the course, which placed me on academic probation for the next two terms because of financial aid.
I had NEVER failed a class or got such a poor grade in my life until last term.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Computer technology courses at Lane Community College
They are currently in the process of revamping the courses because they are having a huge problem with student retention, which based on my experience... I am not surprised.

In my experience, and I will keep it narrowed to my experience with computer networking, one of the most important classes was a theory class to prepare you for the second year was CS179, intro to computer networks.
NEVER take an important class during the summer. This class was taught by a part-time instructor who is a full-time network administrator at the University of Oregon. He didn't want to be here and it showed. In fact, when the new department head sat in on the class he was upset by his presence, ranted, and raved about it for five minutes after the department head left. [Should have been a clue]
Hindsight being 2020, I did not find out really how important this class was until the following two terms.

The next term (last term) is when you start getting into the nitty-gritty of the networking program and how to set up a server.
The instructor for the program believes that you should do every project in the book and answer an average of 100 questions per week, which takes up the majority of your available time.

There are no answers to the questions. The only way that you know that if your answers are correct is by averaging out the answers that other students come up with, assuming you're fortunate enough to get into a student group where you can compare your answers. Otherwise, two days before an exam, the instructor, based on a list from the students will then give you the proper answer to the questions.
If you asked the instructor before that period, his answer is, "Google it first."
Another comment was, "when you're on the job, there is no one dared to give you the answers and you need to know how to look it up." While this is true, I am not at a job, I am paying for training to get the FOUNDATION to build off of.

Also, "if I do not know what I'm looking for and I don't know why I am looking for it, then how am I supposed to know if I found the right answer. It is harder to unlearn an incorrect answer."

Actual hands-on work only comes from the assignments in the textbook.
In the classroom, there are hubs, switches, routers, which so far we have had very little to do with. [Maybe there's more in the remainder of the course]

Disclaimer: the following information is secondhand information and should be taken as not 100% accurate
When I heard that one of the instructors went to one of the major employers in town to follow-up on the graduates [I confirmed this by talking to that instructor] he was very surprised to find that the graduates were unable to answer some of the simplest networking questions. For example, "how to set up a peer-to-peer network."

I got to thinking about that question, and said to myself, "good question, I don't know how to either."

After talking with a few students, I realized that I have set a peer-to-peer networks not only in my office but also in other locations. I just did not related to a name.

Anyway, that is the short version....

And to answer the question about transferring to the U of O, because that was not my original plan I screwed myself. Very few of the programs that I've taken at Lane will transfer over to the University which means that for me to get a bachelor's, is going to take another five years of schooling.

Oh yes, the maximum credit limit will come into play again for that too. It requires 180 credits for a bachelor's degree, I have 160 lifetime attempted credits and at 270 credits will require me to file an appeal which they will allow a maximum (according to the financial aid office) an extra three months.

My advice if you're thinking about going for a bachelor's degree at all... the most successful plan that I have heard is to start at the top and think backwards.

Only take the courses at Lane Community College that will directly transfer over to the University. DO NOT waste your time and money on the AAOT because it contains LCC only requirements that do not transfer.

Well, I'm going to take two aspirin and get ready for my third writing class in my continuing attempts to learn how to write an essay.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Sailor Republica said...

Ugh. I know about the class load.

12 books for 4 classes, plus budgets. I now know why people have dayplanners for dayplanners. X_x

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Bob H. said...

Thanks for the info. Bob

2:01 AM  
Blogger Boze Noze said...

Robin, I forwarded your concerns about LCC to the president. As a Board member, I will try to get to the bottom of this. The maximum credit limit sounds fishy and I want all of our programs to be relavent to employer needs. Please keep me posted on anything else that could be improved at LCC. Also, anything that is being done well so we can reward those responsible and try to replicate it. Jay Bozievich

9:33 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Thanks Jay.

You can contact me at R o b I n s b l o g @ h o t m a I l . c o m

8:25 AM  
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