This is my reply to a recurring trend on my experiences with being a distance learner at the University of the Philippines Open University. This was triggered by the recurring theme of not getting enough time slice from the faculty-in-charge(fic), especially for an information system project…

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Another thing that confuses me is that the course guideline talks about masteral research and the likes but the course catalog description is

        IS 295a   Information System Project I (2 units)
                    Design of an information system 
        IS 295b    Information System Project II (2 units)
                    Implementation of an information sytem 

I know we are masteral students but that description is misleading. In my opinion theses are over-rated since it only proves you are specialized in one aspect of a field. That is the reason why i picked this program, both because i can manage my time and not do a thesis.

At this point in time, introducing an ‘innovative’ addition to the knowledge tree is a tough act considering that almost everything has already been done and tried. You dont believe me? Then try wading through the freshmeat.net site. Almost everything is done at least two ways.

One more stumbling block is that you have to have an organization as your target user and you have to get your proposal approved by your adviser/committee as well. I do not know if that is just me but i have a hard time explaining to a prospective sponsor about the course proposal and then just find out it will be rejected afterwards. Getting them to at least spend the time to evaluating my request for ‘sponsorship’ is hard enough that transforming this into a chicken-and-egg (err. organization-or-adviser in this case) scenario is downright frustrating.

I can only imagine the paperwork piled on top of the FICs but these is already bordering on the absurd. They should have instituted a screening process that only students with pre-approved proposals are permitted to enroll in the course, that way the time of the majority is not wasted waiting for the second coming of Christ.

I am already thinking that we are getting what we have paid for. We paid for an ‘inexpensive’ program and look where we are: a bunch of students trying to find our bearings while being guided by overloaded fics who barely have time to spare for distance-learning students. Prof. Anacleto once told me that he has a personal theory on why the MIS only has 1 graduate so far. I think I also have mine: reality erodes idealism. Bok Apao and the rest who already dropped out are proof of that.

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ciao!