DonnaM » University


On why I quit university (again)

Saturday, April 8th, 2006

I had a moment of clarity last week at the IA Summit. One moment I was studying a Master of Human Factors, the next I wasn’t.

This is the second Masters degree I haven’t finished. The first was a Master of Internet Communication – I completed 2/3 (with top marks right through) before I realised I had spent a whole lot of money on not learning much (the link goes to the new program, which is much stronger than the old).

Second time round and I spent more money and at least learned a little more. But the moment of clarity came when I was thinking about what I was going to do when I got back from Summit. The presentations and discussions had given me loads of interesting things to follow up. I was thinking about what to do, and realised that it would be tricky as I had assignments to complete. Then I realised that was backward – I was sacrificing things I am passionately interested in for writing a assignments on things I already know. Duh!

I also realised that I don’t need the qualification. I’m experienced at what I do and my clients and peers think I’m pretty good at it. I have no problems getting work. I’m very self-motivated and can book learn easily (I should also mention that my study was all remote, so I am not going to miss the face-to-face that, for some programs, would be the benefit). A qualification will add little to my life.

So I’m free and unqualified. But look at some of what I just ordered (for a fraction of the cost of a semester):

There’s no program that covers such an odd mixture…

So hopefully I’ll dust off MaadBooks and review some of these as I go.

Uni results in

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

I got my university results for this semester. For ‘Web Design and Delivery’, I got a HD.

Usually I’m pretty excited by a HD (as you can imagine). This time it just reinforces that I should be changing degree – I put in little real effort and learned nothing getting that mark.

Change of degree

Saturday, November 29th, 2003

Hey, I just realised that I forgot to tell you about my exciting university news – I have decided to change degree, starting early next year. I have decided to drop my 2/3 finished Masters of Internet Communication (for reasons I am not going to go into here) and start a Human Factors program at the University of Queensland.

I can hardly wait!

I’m free!!!

Sunday, October 19th, 2003

I’ve just submitted my last assignment for uni this semester (and it’s 3 days early!) – a completed website for a client.


So, now starts the transition back into my normal life. I think I’ll start tonight with a hug for my neglected family and tomorrow with phone calls to neglected friends…

Do you want a free site design/redesign

Monday, July 21st, 2003

Following up on my previous post about university this semester, I’m looking for a client to design a website for (free of charge!).

The site can be either a new site or an existing site in need of a redesign. Becuase it is for an assignment, it needs to be:

  • Australian
  • static html – not database driven
  • primarily informational – not interactive
  • at least 20 pages (I can cope with large sites)
  • able to be started in the next few weeks, and finished around end October

The assignment is made up of 3 parts:

  1. develop requirements document and information architecture (based on client interview, user research, content analysis etc)
  2. prototype site and provide to client for feedback
  3. fully develop 10-20 pages of the site

There will be lots of other things to sort out (like what we do with the ‘rest’ of the site, how it will be maintained long term etc), which I will do with the client depending on the type of site etc (see, there had to be a ‘it depends’).

If you know someone who this would suit, please email me and I’ll take it from there. I have a CV online and can provide examples of my previous work.

Uni starts today

Monday, July 21st, 2003

My course materials for university arrived today (if you haven’t heard, I’m doing a Master of Internet Communication at University of Canberra). This semester is ‘Web design and delivery’. My assignment work involves:

  1. Finding a client and doing a requirements analysis and information architecture proposal
  2. Preparing a prototype website
  3. Evaluating another student’s website
  4. Preparing a paper on one of:
    • Metadata
    • Search engines
    • Accessibility for users with disabilities
    • Information architecture
    • Content management systems
    • Usability testing
    • Designing for a global audience
    • Copyright on the web

I think I’ll be OK…

Uni final marks are in

Thursday, July 10th, 2003

And guess what happened again…I got another WH (withheld) mark. Second semester in a row this has happened to me.

Now I know that I got a HD (high distinction – best mark possible). I just wish the uni could get their act together and get my marks finalised properly. It really is much more exciting to see a HD than a WH!

I figured it out

Thursday, February 20th, 2003

In the time it took me to make a cup of tea (one of my study habits), I figured out the answer to my last post.

It all has to do with the transition in my routine.

Over the last few months, I have been holidaying – pottering around the house, making new curtains, putting a warp on my loom, watering what little garden I have in the drought, watching X-files DVDs.

Next week I start back into study routine – daughter to bed at 8.00, study 8.30-10.30 every night, no pottering, less TV. More thinking, more structure.

This week is my transition. Clean up the desk, get excited about thinking non-work related things, get the ideas bubbling.

It all seems so obvious now I have thought it…

Busier and busier

Thursday, February 20th, 2003

My whole life prioritisation is severely messed up.

Why is it, when university starts next week (which means both studying and tutoring), that I suddenly get motivated to do things that I should have been doing since November last year? Just this week I have started to:
- work on this year’s version of the Murrumbateman Field Days site
- update my portfolio & CV
- write my paper for a conference I’m speaking at (warning – that link is to a pdf)
- draft an article I want to write for boxes & arrows
- read up on pattern languages in preparation for a new project

One day I’ll learn to pace myself…

(on second thoughts…I’m sure I won’t)

Uni marks

Monday, December 9th, 2002

I usually like the end of semester at uni. Waiting for final marks is really exciting. And this semester was no different. I checked the uni website twice a day to find out whether marks had been released.

Can you imagine my horror to find that results were released, but instead of the good mark I was expecting, there was a WH (withheld). This usually means that a student has not completed all work. I was a bit worried…

Anyway, after querying this, I got a note back from my lecturer today. She said that I hadn’t submitted my major assignment, and could I please send it to her. However, I had submitted it, and it had been marked and returned to me. At the time I was surprised at how fast it was returned (a matter of days).

I think I know what happened. I was the only student in my class to hand in the assignment on time. It got marked and returned. Then when everyone else handed theirs in late, mine wasn’t in the bundle, and was forgotten.

Hmmm…pays to be on time, doesn’t it?

Uni results are in

Wednesday, July 10th, 2002

I got my results from my first semester of my Master of Internet Communication. This semester I studied Interactive Writing.

And…I got a HD (and if you are not familiar with this grading system, you can’t do any better than this!!)

Am I stoked!