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OCL Psychology Student Diary: Lessons Learned

Have you ever wondered what taking an online college course might be like? So did we, so we took one! But the course is now done and this psychology student is moving on. Now that the fun is finished, what will I take away? What will I forget? Most of all, how do I view my experiences with OCL? At least these questions are easier to answer than the ones on my final.

By Laura Allan

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A Last Look

With the final test done, it was time to do the last few activities in my online psychology class. I'd gotten the grade I wanted and I was still feeling pretty happy about that. It really did feel like the whole thing was over, so I admit that I was pretty lackluster with the last items. I skimmed over the review section and the essay questions. They were pretty well constructed, and the essay questions did touch on multiple lessons at once. Basically, it's what you'd expect from a traditional class. The only thing I really paid much attention to was a file about how to write the perfect essay.

I had expected a step-by-step lesson on how to put essays together for a psychology class. It managed to surprise me by offering up descriptions on how to write essays in any sort of college class. I recognized many of the key points from what I'd learned as an English major in college. If you'd never written an essay before, this would have been an excellent resource. I checked another course and it had that file too, so it seemed like it was available to anyone taking an OCL class.

My View

So I could officially declare myself done with the course. Alright, but what did I think of my experience? All in all, my impressions were good. I had seen a change for the better in myself as far as studying habits and test taking. Those were something four years in college hadn't managed to imprint on me. I had also succeeded in doing well under pressure to get a grade I wanted. If an online class could make me do all that, it was definitely doing something right.

While reading tiny text on a screen for hours had been frustrating, and the lack of videos sometimes made the lessons feel like they went on and on, those were honestly my only two complaints. The lessons themselves were well-constructed and easy to understand. The tests were efficient and covered all the material equally. Most of all, the subject matter itself was kept interesting with stories and examples, even with humor sometimes. I came into this lesson with little to no knowledge of the subject matter and the lessons walked me through concepts that were pretty advanced. I could easily see this being a helpful tool for students in college and even high school.

Use it or Lose it

Now that all was said and done, the question was, could I retain and use my lessons as they come up in the future? After all, I'd taken the class in the first place to better communicate with my husband about his work. I'd already found myself improving in dinner conversations and being able to ask more precise questions about what he'd done that day. But how much had really gone in one ear and out the other? I'd had a habit in college of forgetting things as soon as a course was done because they never came up anymore. Would that happen here? Only time would tell.

It was about a week after I'd finished the OCL course before I really had to test myself. My mother was asking me what my husband had been doing at work recently, and almost without hesitation I answered that he was working with someone who had a memory impairment similar to people in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I was surprised at how easily words came to me. I explained further about the different kinds of problems that my husband's clients had. When my mother had questions I was able to answer them. By the time I hung up the phone, I couldn't help smiling. Even though my OCL experience had been an online course and had only lasted about six weeks, it had taught me well. Consider this student graduated.

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