Course Shopping

I seem to have hit the course jackpot this semester.

I have been somewhat disappointed with many of the courses I have taken over my graduate career – sometimes it was not due to anything in the instructor’s control, like lack of enrollment or an instructor going on sick leave partway through the term or being forced to complete a “required course” I had little to zero interest in…we can all relate to that one! Overall, I can count on one hand the number of courses that I have taken that were truly inspiring and useful. This term, I am taking two courses in the education department (which is massive and full of acronyms I don’t understand) and both have already exceeded my expectations. One course is advertised as an introductory research course and I was a bit worried it would be below my level, but after reading the course outline and attending the first class, I was blown away by the professor and her knowledge. Clear expectations and most of the students are at the PhD level, in a variety of fields. I have already learned so much and am really enjoying myself. The other course is not quite what I would have expected and I came across it quite by accident – it was advertised on a listserve that I am part of from my former department. Again, after reading the course outline and attending the first class, I was excited and energized by my classmates and the professor. One course on research that I can use to develop my proposal for next term and one to develop my ideas and a draft of one of my chapters – SCORE!

My best advice when choosing courses:

  • Be sure to chat with your advisor about your selections as they may suggest courses you wouldn’t have thought of
  • Join listserves and read your department’s emails about new course offerings
  • Go “course shopping” the first week of classes to find the course that fills the need you are seeking
  • Be honest with the instructor if you are not sure you will be taking the course or email them before the first week with any questions you might have
  • Be sure not to overload yourself, especially in your first term! (here is where I need to take my own advice…)
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