Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Northampton Community College online classes are cool

I've been out of college for a couple of years. Scratch that, TEN years, as I was so kindly reminded by my alma mater, inviting me to my reunion. How did this happen? Just yesterday I was having Capitol Lounge hot wings and gift beer for dinner, or sharing popcorn with the "Queer Eye" guys on ironing night at my place in Cleveland Park. I've lived away from DC so long that I'm told that my old neighborhood is already un-hip.

I started my MBA at Lehigh when I was at a big corporate job, while staring down another monthly accounting report and wondering how I could improve my job performance vs. squeaking by another month, only knowing as much as I needed to know for my department to "close" correctly, and let the accountants go home before pizza was ordered. My first class was an online accounting class.

Then my position was eliminated and I took an incomplete in my first class while I looked for full-time employment. This past spring, motivated by a new job and a friendly reminder from my B-school adviser that I would lose my credits if I didn't get a move on, I enrolled in the entry-level MBA course again (this time in person). I'm not saying I was the star pupil - by no means was this the case - but I did well, met some great people, and learned a LOT about accounting from a fantastic professor.

I paid a visit to my friendly recruiter who set me back on track, reminding me that I needed to take a couple of pre-requisite courses (see aforementioned # of years since college? that hurts). However, I could take them at Northampton Community College (LV natives call it "Nack-Ack" or "Nack") and save a bucketload of money. The classes at NCC would cost me $342 each instead of $2,520. I am not exaggerating.

First, I had to enroll as a credit-seeking student at NCC. Apparently my history of sushi-making with Courtney, eating yummy student soup creations at Hampton Winds, and tasting the wines of France in non-credit classes didn't qualify me. I did the application online and requested a copy of my undergraduate transcript be mailed to the admissions office. I waited with great anticipation until a FAT envelope (a great sign!!!) arrived in the mail.

After I enrolled in my online class, I received information about how to log on to Blackboard, where to get my textbook, and how to take my online quizzes. I didn't expect much, but... it's actually pretty amazing. The technology that NCC employs is far beyond that of my MBA program's and although there's no lecture, there are regular discussions led on the board by our professor, a well-written textbook, and thoughtful assignments. And, I can see how I did on every assignment, what my grade is to date, and how my quiz grades stack up against my classmates'. I'm only required to take one more class at NCC - statistics of all things - and although I have enjoyed my online experience, I think you'll find me in the classroom for that one.

Have you taken any classes for credit at NCC? Will we see you on a billboard sometime soon (Lisa, I know that you already have one)?

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