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Finishing Strong

© J. Francois Barnard – August 16, 2020

I have just completed Term 5 of 2020. And it went well in the exams, thank you for asking! In September 2020, the first term for the 2020/21 academic year will start, and that will be my last term at UoPeople. With the end in sight, I can now reflect on the previous three years and celebrate many more highlights than low points.

study015To put you in the picture: I started my Bachelor's in Science Business Administration degree (BSBA) in September 2017. I thought I started the previous term, having done English Composition I in term 5 of the 2016/17 academic year. I was wrong. That was to prove my English proficiency, and UoPeople never transferred its credits to my degree.

The idea is that you take two courses per term, and there are five terms per academic year. That gives you ten courses per year, and 40 courses make up the 4-year Bachelors-degree. If, however, you can maintain a grade point average above 3.5, the university will allow you to take a third course per term. That way, you can fast-track your degree, and finish earlier.

Doing fifteen courses per year, instead of ten, adds a lot of pressure to your life, as you can imagine. I have a full-time job, a part-time business, and a family. All require a piece of me, and I give it as best I can. The support from my family is just incredible, and if it were not there, I would never have been able to study too.

By now, I have completed all my major courses, and the last three courses are from UoPeople's selection of elective courses to make up the last required credits. That will be Introduction to Health Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, and Programming Fundamentals. Yes, that last one is probably the first course that Computer Science students take. The interesting thing is that I started my career as a programmer. The DOS environment I worked in will be of no help now, but the fundamentals of programming have not changed between 1987 and 2020.

A few weeks ago, I phoned an old school friend – an architect – to get information about ISO9000 and Six Sigma and the application of quality management systems (QMSs) at the research institute where he works. I told him that I need it for my studies, and he found it difficult to believe that one would go back to study again, so much later in life.

"No, I would forget everything learned in the first week by the time I reach the exam nine weeks later," he laughed. And that is probably the perception most people have.

That got me thinking. How much do I forget again?

But no, you do not forget it nine weeks later in the exam, albeit that some questions seemed to stem from a different course! The brain absorbs all information. Depositing information is not the problem, recalling it may be. But even though I cannot remember today the exact details of an assignment done in 2017, the information is still there, and when needed, presents itself again.

Over the last three years, I found that much of the course material overlapped from term to term. How many courses would cite Immanuel Kant? Or how many times would we see Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? I took Macroeconomics and Introduction to Economics in the same term, and even one assignment was precisely the same. And yes, I used "copy & paste"!

Repeating the same work from different angles helps to cement certain concepts, helping you to recall information when needed. Also, I encountered many of these concepts during my career, and the academic information obtained from UoPeople slotted those blocks of information nicely into position. Many things just made more sense to me.

But better still, I could fill assignment after assignment with the first-hand experience from my career. I could apply academic theory to practical situations. I could tell my peers where I encountered certain aspects in my career, and light it up from a different angle.

And that helps me recalling information.

I remember events during my career, link it to academic information learned at UoPeople, and recalling the event now helps to recall the educational information too. We are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made!"

The last lap of this academic race is starting in the first week of September 2020. I want to finish strong. I want to keep my momentum from the previous terms and carry it over into the last one. I love studying, and studying has enriched my life in more ways than you can imagine.

 

Trivial information

Communication between the student and the university takes place mainly on the email platform. By now, I have received 25,500 emails from UoPeople! Most are system generated as the Moodle Server notifies me of posts made on discussion forums. The earlier you submit your discussion assignment in the week, the more notifications you receive per email.

Below are the courses in the order that I took them:

#

Term

Code

Description

0

Jun-17

ENGL 0101

English Composition 1

1

Sep-17

BUS 1101

Principals of Business Management

2

Sep-17

UNIV 1001

Online Education Strategies

3

Nov-17

BUS 1102

Basic Accounting

4

Nov-17

BUS 1103

Microeconomics

5

Feb-18

BUS 1104

Macroeconomics

6

Feb-18

ECON 1580

Introduction to Economics

7

Apr-18

BUS 1105

Business Communications

8

Apr-18

AHIST 1401

Art History

9

Jun-18

ENGL 1102

English Composition 2

10

Jun-18

MATH 1201

College Algebra

11

Sep-18

BUS 2201

Principals of Marketing

12

Sep-18

BUS 2202

E-Commerce

13

Nov-18

BUS 2203

Principals of Finance 1

14

Nov-18

BUS 2204

Personal Finance

15

Nov-18

PSYC1205

Emotional Intelligence

16

Feb-19

BUS 2207

Multinational Management

17

Feb-19

ENG 1405

World Literature

18

Apr-19

BUS 3301

Financial Accounting

19

Apr-19

MATH 1280

Introduction to Statistics

20

Jun-19

BUS 3302

Consumer Behavior

21

Jun-19

BUS 3303

Entrepreneurship 1

22

Jun-19

HIST 1421

Greek and Roman Civilization

23

Sep-19

BUS 3304

Managerial Accounting

24

Sep-19

BUS 3305

Business Law and Ethics

25

Sep-19

PHIL 1404

Ethics and Social Responsibility

26

Nov-19

BUS 3306

Business and Society

27

Nov-19

BUS 4401

Entrepreneurship 2

28

Nov-19

ENVS 1301

Introduction to Environmental Sciences

29

Feb-20

BUS 4402

Organizational Behaviour

30

Feb-20

BUS 4403

Business Policy and Strategy

31

Feb-20

POLS 1503

Globalization

32

Apr-20

BUS 4404

Principles of Finance 2

33

Apr-20

BUS 4405

Leadership

34

Apr-20

PHIL 1402

Introduction to Philosophy

35

Jun-20

BUS 4406

Quality Management

36

Jun-20

BUS 4407

Strategic Management

37

Jun-20

PSYC 1504

Introduction to Psychology

38

Sep-20

PSYC 1111

Introduction to Health Psychology

39

Sep-20

SOC 1502

Introduction to Sociology

40

Sep-20

CS 1101

Programming Fundamentals