College is a place where you get to know yourself and who you want to be in life. The campus life and people around you aid to shape your aims and ambitions. Any college class you take, whether required for your major or completely voluntary will also shape your experiences. Each course comes with risks and rewards that all depend on how much time and effort you put forth. College courses and college in general can be compared to, according to Dr. McCoy, a “preserve”, a space wherein power both makes choices possible and sets limits on them. Using the term preserve we can compare risks and rewards of online learning to those in Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”.
Nothing could come close to preparing you for a real college class. In high school they try to mimic the course load or teaching styles to introduce you to them ahead of time, but even AP classes do not compare. These courses you take are impossible to do well in if you do not manage your time or put in the effort. The first day of class you are given a syllabus which tells you all the goals and requirements in the course. INTD 105 risks and rewards of academic partnership is a course that introduces students to college level persuasive writing and reading. Your professor is the one that comes up with what you read, discuss, and write about, this could be the limit set on the coursework. You must stay within certain guidelines to get the grade that you want and/or deserve. According to the syllabus for INTD 105 all students should be able to “read significant texts carefully and critically, recognizing and responding to argumentative positions”. Whether this is an article or a video, you need to be able to thoroughly understand your source in a way that makes it second nature proving your point. Although you do not get to choose your topic, the prompt can be interpreted in multiple ways, so there is no way you can get it “wrong”.
Just as I was not prepared for the work and time needed to complete a college course, Gan was not prepared for his future. Though two completely different subjects, we were both told about these plans, but nothing compared to when we were put in that situation. Gan had been told his whole life that using his body as a host was “a good and necessary thing Tlic and Terran did together – a kind of birth” (Bloodchild, 9). It was not until he witnessed someone in the role of “host” that he understood the reality of the situation. He knew that birth was “bloody and painful, no matter what” but what he witnessed was worse than that. Words do not have the same effect as experiences.
Something new that affects our semester is online learning which has come with more risks than rewards. Academic partnership is hard to achieve when you cannot have conversation face to face. Although the face to face conversation is halted, seeing others posts and finding that my classmates opinions differ from mine increases my thinkING. I find it very difficult to fully engage in online courses, including this one. Instead of courses giving me a great deal of interest, they seem to drag on when I must do all the teaching myself online. I cannot think of many rewards that come with learning online other than the fact that it makes me slow down and do everything at my own pace. Gan was not ready for his reality just as I was not prepared for college, especially online learning.
There is so much potential to grow in INTD 105, which is what I love about the course. Even with guidelines and limits made, you decide how well you do in the course. “Assignments for which you will receive feedback and offer feedback are ungraded assignments”, this takes the pressure off making the essay perfect and puts more pressure on making it so that you can spark a conversation. Including multiple check-ins within the course you can make goals and assess if you have met them or not after spending more time in the class. The feedback that I have been received is incredibly helpful in my goal making process and for fixing problems in my future essays.
Considering the limits placed on me in this course as well as the rewards I can obtain, I have come up with a few goals for myself. I would like to take my time to enjoy the readings that we do so that I can engage more in my writings. Dr. Beth McCoy’s extensive feedback makes having the course online tolerable, knowing that she and the class care about overall growth in the course and not just a number grade. I need to learn how to support my arguments more and stick to the prompt, which hopefully will come with more practice writing. I feel as though if I enjoy the course and learn from my mistakes in my essays I can accept that this course is one that will have shaped me for my future in college and beyond.