I have finished my first session of study at Charles Sturt University (CSU). I still find some aspects of an online delivery mode frustrating – especially the lack of significant, official, real-time interpersonal discussion and lack of consistent, predictable contact with instructors. Despite the challenges, I managed to finish my two subjects with good results.
I really hope that the quality of the course materials improves in the remaining subjects in my course. I was quite appalled by the poor writing, editing and referencing in the modules for the two subjects, ETL401 and ETL503, that I took. I feel that course materials should model at least the top level of work that you are expecting from students, if not a superior quality. I found that I often needed to correct reference entries when using readings from the modules in my own work. I do not think that “do as the referencing style guide says, and not as I do” is good enough for instructors or course materials at any level, not least at postgraduate level.
Choosing my elective subject for next term is consuming my thoughts in this interim session. I was leaning towards taking INF533, Literature in Digital Environments, because I would like to take a subject with a focus on literature but feel that the technological aspects of my resume and work experience are what need the most bolstering for job applications. Most of my classmate network, however, is taking ETL402, Literature Across the Curriculum.
When I spoke to the course director, Barbara Combes, about the difference between these offerings she said that she viewed ETL402 as a precursor to INF533, even though there is not an official requirement in place expressing that relationship. She also mentioned that the structure and content of INF533 are quite different to the subjects which I have taken so far as it is aimed for the KNDI degree, which is a more hands-on course. That in itself did not put me off, her indication that the final assessment contains a collaborative project was my main cause for concern. I am not sure that I would be comfortable with ceding control, even partially, over work that contributes to my marks. Interestingly, research into blogs of former students in that subject did not yield any indication that the final projects were not done on an individual basis. As I am having a hard time deciding, I have opted to enrol in both subjects and investigate the subject outlines and preliminary modules when they are released to aid in my decision-making process.