Digest Reply

Subject: Digest Reply
From: "Blount, Patricia A" <Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 09:20:30 -0400

Good morning, all,

I'm on digest and after this week's 'pissing contest' as Will called it,
I'm sure you all appreciate why. I saw Bill's post about Rensselaer and
wanted to comment.

Bill mentioned Rensselaer's amazing graduate degree program, of which I
was fortunate to have studied some years back. (Unfortunately, I did not
complete the degree program. My employer was footing the tuition bills
and I'd elected to stop during a period of extreme uncertainty here -
well, more than usual.)

Why 'amazing'? First, the entire program was offered via distance
learning. I could view video recordings of actual classroom instruction
held earlier that week, or I could participate live via a remote
classroom connection, combined with chatroom monitoring. If I had a
question, I typed it in and a student assistant asked it in class.

The curriculum was particularly well-rounded. I studied task analysis,
writing for the web, interface design and usability principles - in
which I was introduced to the genius of Donald Norman and Jakob Nielsen.
If you're unfamiliar with this duo, please check out www.nngroup.com. I
collaborated on projects with on-campus students as well as other
distance students, like me. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the

I want to go back and finish the degree now that my employer has
stabilized a bit and I am confident I can again use my tuition
reimbursement benefits. However, RPI has killed off the tech-comm
degree. They offer an HCI degree instead (Human Computer Interaction). I
have about five courses left to take toward tech-comm - not sure if
they'll let me transfer all my credits toward the HCI degree, but it's
worth finding out.

Rensselaer was a fantastic learning experience... I'd love to hear about
similar institutions, especially those offering distance learning.

Patty Blount


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