Tag Archives: education

After further consideration…

The other day, I posted a question on a couple of related LinkedIn groups that I belong to. The question was, essentially, “where are the entry level Emergency Management jobs?” which came from the fact that most of the jobs that I see call for several years’ experience in the emergency management realm.

I got a number of insightful responses that talked about a variety of possible options, including volunteer work with the likes of Red Cross and working with local Emergency Medical System organizations.  I was also pointed to a University of Washington website article that talked about “Suggested Career Tips for Emergency Management”.

I may find it useful to go back and get an EMT ticket again, and do some volunteering that way. And I need to get my ham license upgraded, I think.


You’re a college student. Write like it!

I have little tolerance for stupidity in daily life. I have even less when it comes to education. I’m in a 400-level class and not only can’t some of the students read the assignment schedule, but they write like they’re on Facebook!

“Your” and “you’re” are different words, with different meanings. As a junior in college, you should know the difference. Also, “thru” is not an acceptable word for academic writing. It’s an informal simplification of “through” which is the preferred in most writing.

Academic writing is not informal, by any stretch. The syllabus states “[t]hese are academic dialogs and you should avoid informal instant messaging style language” on page 1. Let me restate that for you: TALK LIKE A GROWN UP!

Something else that bugged me this week is that our mid-term was due on Sunday night. Monday mid-day, someone posts message asking if anyone else is having problems submitting work to the online plagiarism checker (TurnItIn), which is a requirement before turning the paper in. Upon careful examination of the  TurnItIn web page, it explicitly states that the deadline for turn-in is 29-Jul-2012 11:59 PM. A quick glance at a calendar suggests that the time in question is midnight, Sunday night. In most civilized countries, Monday comes after Sunday.

Critical thinking skills. I has them.


Product review: iStudiez Pro

A couple of years ago, I downloaded the iStudiez Lite app for my iPad in the hopes that I could use it to keep track of my schoolwork. At that time, I was using a Windows computer, and I don’t recall there being a desktop application for the Mac. I could be wrong, but I wasn’t a Mac user at that time. I discovered that the, while the data entry was a little tedious with the virtual keyboard, it worked well enough that I bought the iStudiez Pro app for a couple of bucks. 

iStudiez is geared to real classroom studies, as opposed to the virtual/online courses that I take. You can set up class/lecture meeting times, test/quiz/exam schedules and the entire set of assignments provided in your college syllabus very easily. They set up on a calendar in the application, but those schedules don’t propagate to the main calendar app on either the iPad or on my Mac. This is my biggest complaint about the application: I would like to see my assignments on my default calendar. There are a couple of other, minor things (sorting options, grouping options, “help” improvements, default data entry selections) that I would like to see, but none of these is a deal breaker by a long shot.

What really shines, though, is the iStudiez Pro desktop application. Yes, it’s “just” a desktop version of the iPad application, but it is much easier to navigate around with a mouse and keyboard. I leave it open and sitting in my Dock so that it keeps track of the number of items pending for the upcoming week. This is by far the best thing that I have used it for, since I have a moderately busy life between work, family,  external activities, and school. The iStudiez desktop app calendar can be set to show the events that are in iCal (the Mac desktop calendar app) so that you can see what all is happening on a given day. As I said, I would like to see this all on the iCal listing, but it’s something workable.

Once you set up the class profile with instructor info, assignment info, and test/quiz/exam schedule data, you can set the desktop to sync to the iStudiez cloud, and then with your portable device via Internet connection. This goes both ways, too. You can change data on the portable device and sync it to the cloud and onto the desktop application.

When setting up your classwork information, you can give it a weight and iStudiez can automatically track your score for you. You have to manually enter the weight, of course, but this is very simple to do.

I continue to learn new and more effective ways to use iStudiez as I take more classes. Part of this is because I didn’t read the guide that the creators put up online, and part of that is because several of the components of the application just aren’t quite intended for my online-only education.

All in all, between the desktop app and the portable app, I paid less that $10.00 for the works, and I’ve been well served by the tracking functions. I think that my grades have been improved because I haven’t missed assignments, thanks to the pending count on the Dock icon. iStudiez is not a perfect app, and it needs some more work, but it is VERY serviceable as it is, and I would highly recommend it for any student looking for a way to keep track of their classes, classwork, and grades. 


Trying to plan for the future. Again.

Several years ago, I went to school for an EMT-Basic ticket. The class was pretty easy, information wise, and the practials weren’t hard, either. But, I couldn’t get work in town as a part-time EMT-Basic, and I let my license expire.  Recently, I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting licensed again, especially since I can only find part time work right now. The cost of the program is roughly a thousand dollars (including books), which I think I can scrape together without damaging the family economy any more than I already have.

EMS is a young man’s career choice. The pay sucks, and the work is complex and physical. And, much of the employment opportunity is either in fire-service or part time as an EMT-B. But, this is not a career decision for me, I don’t think. It’s a stepping stone, a waiting point, if you will, until I can finish my degree in Emergency and Disaster Management.

Ok, I started writing the above several hours ago. In the mean time, I discovered that I might just be able to get help paying for the local EMT-B class via the “dislocated worker program” in the area. Must call during business hours.

I wonder what Kristen will say…


School update

So week 4 ends today for my latest set of classes. These are “Social Media Application to Emergency and Disaster Management” and “Homeland Security Organization” and they are quite different from my Psychology program classes.  I think part of that is the fact that I am in a different school, but also the fact that I went from an Associate’s degree to a Bachelor’s degree. 

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