I am finishing up my masters degree this semester through the CTER program. I guess in about a week it will all be over. As I am writing my last blog postings as a grad student at the University of Illinois, I realized that this is the first time I have done any work on campus. I dropped off my wife and kids at the Nutcracker Ballet at Krannert tonight and hopped over to Espresso Royale to get some work done.
I’m a little disappointed that I kinda missed the whole campus experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love online classes, and many times it has been advantageousness. I’ve gone to class in 4 different states (geographically, not mentally – I guess mentally I’m not sure), I’ve taken care of my kids while my wife goes to work, and I’ve been able to work at weird hours that work for me.
I’ve started to wonder what is the coffee shop of an online campus. It quickly came to me – online social networks. The more I’ve been in school the more people I’ve friended from the program (in one way or another – facebook/google/skype/etc.)
At night (or sometimes early morning) when I’m online I can quickly chat with classmates in the same way I would bumping into them at Espresso Royale.
Perhaps it’s not the same, but it’s a nice way to feel part of a cohort. I wish I had worked harder at building an online social community throughout the program.