I’ve been plugging along all semester in an online introductory IT class. Now, it hasn’t been worthless; I’ve been exposed to quite a bit of stuff I didn’t know or was only vaguely familiar with, but the whole experience has been rather frustrating. Feedback from the instructor has been minimal. Out of assignments for 23 separate chapters, I’ve gotten one sentence by way of comment from the instructor. What’s been more frustrating for me has been that there have been some items in the book that I know are just wrong. But I’ve plugged along, held my tongue, and given the answers I was expected to give. I’ve also completely controlled my tendency towards snark, given that the instructor had no observable signs of a sense of humor.
I did the last homework assignment tonight. The last question was:
At what point should you be satisfied with your knowledge of IT?
Of course, you’re supposed to talk about your undying commitment to bettering yourself through the lifelong pursuit of IT knowledge.
Now, first off, I believe in education as an ongoing process in all areas, not just IT. Second, the question was addressed to a group of people who just worked their way through 23 chapters of intro to IT concepts. If we aren’t committed to ongoing learning about IT now, we probably aren’t going to have an epiphany and become committed while contemplating the last homework question of the semester. (Besides, the whole thing strikes me as very junior high, “you should like me.”)
So, the point is, I did a quick calculation of the points possible for the semester and concluded that if I fail the final and my last homework assignment pisses off the instructor and she gives me 0 points for the material not yet graded and/or posted, I’ll still pass the class.
You know what that means:
I should be satisfied with my knowledge of IT when I’m dead (unless you believe in reincarnation, in which case the correct answer is “never”). There’s always some new technology or software and once you get past the hype and fluff, each advance lets me do more things, or do things better, or access information in contexts that were impossible a few years (or months) ago. I grew up in a family that believed learning for the sake of learning was a worthy pursuit. Deciding I don’t need to know anything more would be unforgivable arrogance on a scale approaching blasphemy.
Besides, something I learn next week or next year may allow me to create the definitive cute cat video search engine, thereby fulfilling the ultimate purpose of the internet.