Friday, August 5, 2011

Last Class for the Summer

Last night was the last session of the Professional Editing I class I was taking. It marked the end of the second class I took this summer and the end of the last class I am taking this summer. I wanted to start with two just to get a feel for the classes and see if this is something I want to continue with.

The Fundamentals of Technical Writing class I didn't really enjoy. Part of that was just the nature of the class. A fundamentals class is going to cover just basic stuff and I already know a lot of basic writing stuff. I found myself bored for parts of the class. Part of it was the teacher. She was nice enough and was knowledgeable about the subject, but there were times I felt like she was trying to be my friend and not teaching. And part of it was that we had a group project to do. I hate group projects. I understand that they are a part of any job and a large part of being successful at your job is knowing how to work well with others. But in a class situation I think they are more of a hindrance to learning than anything else. Though the class was suppose to be about Technical Writing, after we were split into groups it almost became about doing the group project. Every break we got we spent talking about the group project and we were even given the last 40 minutes of class each night to talk about our group projects. Add that to the fact that the class was only 5 weeks long AND we weren't able to get together outside of class and the whole thing just became a nightmare. We got the project done, but I don't think it was very good nor do I think it was a successful use of my time.

And don't even get me started on the fact that we had to pay 80 bucks for a book that we pretty much never used. >.<

The Professional Editing I class I enjoyed much more. For one, it was a topic I was very much interested in. I've discovered through taking these classes that I enjoy editing. It can be a little monotonous and time consuming, but it is also one of the few activities in life where I lose track of time doing it. That is very very rare for me, so it is significant whenever it happens. The class itself was more structured, had a teacher that was teaching rather than trying to be friendly and engaging, and best of all, had a project that was solo AND a good learning tool. I learned a lot about the process of editing just from working on the project. The class was a bit boring at times and the teacher seemed a little shaky, but it was still much better than the fundamentals class.

Now I'm left with a little dilemma. Originally I was torn between whether to go for the Technical Writing certificate or the Editing one. I liked the Editing class a lot more, but I think it would probably be easier to get a job as a writer. However, I was informed halfway through the editing course that Bellevue College is getting rid of the Editing certificate and is only offering a writing one. If I want the editing one from them I have to decide right away and have to commit to getting it finished in a very short amount of time.

In addition, I am also no longer sure I want to continue on with this educational track. The classes are expensive, and I am unemployed. I don't know that I will have the funds to take all the classes needed for the certificate. Plus, I'm not sure that the certificate will help me get a job. It can't hurt, but while I am learning things, I don't know that I am picking up the skills I need.

I know how to write and the basics of editing. What I don't know are the different programs used for these practices. For the editing project I had to use Track Changes in Microsoft Word. I had never used it before, and rather than cover it in class I had to figure it out myself. It wasn't hard, thank goodness, but it would have been nice to have had a class on it. Because that is what I need. I need classes on how to use Framemaker or InDesign or something like that. I don't necessarily need classes on sentence structure and grammar.

I also need classes on graphics. Apparently graphics are a large part of technical writing and design these days, and I am completely out to sea when it comes to them. So I almost think it would benefit me more to take classes on these skills instead of taking the classes for the certificate.

So I'm left with a thorny decision to make. And for those that know me, you know that I suck at making decisions. Ugh. >.<

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