A different kind of distance learning

When I started “going to school” at University of Maine Augusta, I didn’t really go anywhere. The class came to me, either through online classes or via ITV or videoconference. When we talk about distance learning, this is a big part of what we mean – bringing college courses to remote locations so people can pursue their educations, no matter where they live.

Now, my distance learning has taken on new meaning. I’m still doing online classes, but I’m also taking a class on campus. Here’s what that has looked like so far…

First, deal with this:

Luckily, my husband usually comes to my rescue.

I drive to the ferry terminal, just a few miles away, and hop on the boat. This pic is from the fall, but you get the idea.

The trip across the bay takes about an hour and twenty minutes. We leave another car on the mainland to avoid having to get reservations and line numbers to take a car on the ferry (a sometimes frustrating process). Luckily, my car is the one on the left.

The drive up to Augusta takes a little over an hour. I give my sincere thanks to the weather gods; during this winter-of-the-many-deep-snows, none of the storms has come on a Monday, my mainland day. I love the trip, a long ride over rolling hills on clear, smooth roads.

I don’t know Augusta very well. It seems like a smallish, spread-out city, still surrounded by woods and anchored to the Kennebec River. The road to UMA wends along Bond Brook for a ways, and then through some wood and on up a hill to campus. This is the first building at the top of the road, the Michael Klahr Holocaust Education Resource Center (here’s another link, too)

I took a walk around campus after class, just to familiarize myself with the layout. This is the other side of the Klahr Center.

The Randall Center is where my class – The Brontës from Page to Screen – is held (a fabulous class, by the way).

This is the area in front of the library.

And here is my only previous connection to campus – I’m pretty sure these are the dishes that beam classes out to remote ITV and videoconference sites all over.

I like poking around campus, and will do it a lot more once the snow clears. In the meantime, when I think of how long it takes me to get here, I’m so grateful I was able to take most of my classes at a distance. My 2 3/4  hour class entails 5 hours of travel, round-trip. I couldn’t have done this every week for the past 6 years of chipping away at my degree, but it’s a nice way to finish off my final semester.

How about you? If you’re on the road to attend classes, how far do you travel?

This entry was posted in ITV classes, online classes, UMA distance learning, UMaine Augusta, video conference classes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A different kind of distance learning

  1. Pingback: Rain day, snow day, I-don’t-know day | Going the Distance…Three Credits at a Time

  2. Caz says:

    I know it must be a pain to get but the scenery looks (and sounds) beautiful!! And the course sounds like something right up my alley! I’m lucky, I live inner-city and although my trip is across the river, it only takes me 20-30 minutes, but I think I’d swap it any day for scenes like yours!

    • leenthebean says:

      I feel pretty lucky to live in a place that still has so much pristine land (and water) to look at. I have to say, I love all parts of my commute. I’m on the boat so much that I sometimes treat it like any other form of public transportation – I read, work on my laptop, etc. I love the drive up to Augusta because, when you live on an island, you really can’t drive very far before you have to turn around and head back! Sometimes the long day away feels hard, but I’m trying to treat it like an adventure. I’m sure living in the middle of a city is another kind of adventure. Sometimes a very tempting one!

  3. Thanks so much for your account, especially the marvelous pictures. Since I’m familiar with the area, I now have a good idea of what you are coping with.

  4. Jan says:

    I travel about 100 miles to University. I could drive all the way in about 2 hours, but prefer to take the train, which is really a 30 min drive to the underground (tube), a 30 min tube journey, then and hour on the train followed by a 15 min walk. The couple of times I did drive the two hours turned into about four with traffic, roadworks & bad weather. It is hard, because I can’t just ‘pop’ in to get a book from the library, or attend a meeting/help session. I went in weekly last year, now its fortnightly, I often stay over to get my research done. I have to plan my library visits, and do all my research in as few visits as possible. It’s not ideal, it’s not a proper distance learning course, so it’s not set up in my favour. I won’t do it again. If I go on to a PhD, which I hope to, intend to apply to a university in London which specialises in Part/Time study.

    • leenthebean says:

      Wow, that is a trek! Amazing what we’ll do and the obstacles we’ll endure in order to get our degrees, isn’t it? Thanks for your comment. I’ve been following your blog, too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s