With Honors

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I watched the film With Honors yesterday and since there is nothing else on the TV I placed it in the background while I was working on my TMA. Although I caught it on HBO a few time I have not seen the beginning.

The film couldn’t have a better timing. I have been thinking about my stay in UPOU, and my exasperations. Time and again I have stated that I am not taking it up for the degree. I am in it for the learning. But what have I learned during my 1.5 year stay? I would have to say a little because most have been a rehash of what I have already known from lurking from a few mailing lists. Aside from the course that teaches the concepts of assembly languages I cant remember a single thing that I learned from the program.

I am already weighing stopping as an option. In the movie, Simon Wilder (Joe Pesci) said Monty (Brendan Frasier) is a loser and he (Simon) is not because he is a quitter. Simon also said that quitters are romantics, maybe because they try to validate why they quit. Somehow those words keep on coming back to me even during my commute to the office. If I am going to quit then the only romanticism that I will attribute it is that I am no longer enjoying what I do and it is time to move on.

I assume my wife is going to have my hide for posting that. She and others might say I am wasting resources and opportunity if I will quit. Maybe I am, maybe I am not. Paraphrasing what a friend told me over dinner a few nights ago “have we come to the point wherein we have to endure things just to survive?” She was talking about bland food at cafeterias so we answered at that point in time the answer to her question is a yes. If I relate this learning endeavour to that question, is the completion of this program really the same way? Will the answer still be ‘yes’? Do I need to complete this to survive? At my deathbed will I really die without having regrets about it? One thing is for sure, I wasted nothing because I met a few invaluable people whom I am happy to call as peers. Some might even want me as their friend! 🙂

I might already be being disillusioned, or even nearing burnout, so I guess the right route for me is to take a sabbatical to sort things through. I like learning and would not stop learning but I am beginning to think that I should have stayed with my previous career course: being a jack of some trades and master of none.


Exasperation on Distance Learning


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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