It hardly seems fair to begin this blog without providing a few bits of background information. Even food at the grocery store comes with a label to let you know what you are consuming, so this seems like the very least that I can do when asking you to consider the value of my thoughts here. Or you could just pretend that you’re shopping for grapes and try one from the top before you buy the whole package :-)
I first considered a blog when Dean L. made the suggestion to me at graduation last May. To say I was flattered that he actually believed I had worthwhile thoughts to share with living beings beyond my cats would be an understatement. By the way, I am not certain of blog etiquette, so I am referring to him as Dean L. to avoid infringing on his privacy without naming him via an impersonal and unfriendly acronym. Dean L. is a man and an educator that I admire and I will not reduce him to a bunch of letters! Unless, of course, he asks me to do so. So, why has a year gone by? Well, there were the typical time issues – or simple procrastination – if you will. *sigh* To be honest, I have lots of doubts about whether or not what is rolling around in my head will be of use to anyone else. Well, when I was a kid, my mother used to tell me that I would never know if I didn’t try. So, here goes…
Around 2007, I hatched a plan. I was going back to our local community college to complete a degree in education that I had abandoned twenty years earlier. *voila – insert magic wand sound here* Mission accomplished in 2008. I turned 40 the spring before I graduated with my first bachelor’s degree – the culmination of twenty years of learning from life and three years of college classes. Along the way, I learned much more (especially about myself) than I ever expected! I also met many other adult learners with stories much more inspiring than my own – some of them overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to earn a college degree. Working with them to improve our learning experiences at a variety of levels soon became my mission. And now, here I am – a former psychology major turned adult education and distance education enthusiast.
I plan to use this space to discuss topics related to and accumulate resources for supporting adult students, whether they study on campus or online. Expect occasional conversations on striking a balance for working adult students and their families. Also certain to pop up with some level of frequency will be references to research on building online and on-campus learning communities and anything else intent on engagement and improving the adult learner experience.
On this journey, I know that I will learn more about myself while I figure out new ways to support adult learners. If you are still reading this, thanks for hanging in there. I promise it will get better.