Joggers attired brightly colored skin tight spandex and loose fitting grey cotton sweats pass the wooden bench at regular intervals. Some breeze by largely unaffected by the gravitational effects of the Earth, while others sucked air like there was a shortage. A large lake, with rental rowboats available only to the affluent zigzagging across the otherwise placid surface, was in front of the bench beyond the concrete. Occasionally bicyclists whisk by weaving through the pedestrians like mosquitoes. This was my favorite park and my favorite place in the park. I remember picnicking here as a child with my father and mother.
As I sat on the bench a slight breeze skipped through the leaves of the eclectic variety of deciduous trees planted that seemed to be planted ad hoc throughout the park by an unsupervised group of druggy's the1960s. The effect in the fall is as mind blowing as you can image, reds, yellows, greens and browns of every hue.
Old wooden picnic tables, scarred by decades of graffiti, pay homage to loves long since gone sour, were scattered under the various trees. The occupants rotated through hour by hour, day by day, week by week and year by year to share stories, shed tears, giggles and guffaws. Lover's undying declarations of devotion scar the trees.
The homeless man's slow gate accented his emaciated bent frame as he approached, beaten down by circumstance and time. He was a raggedy man with unruly tangled salt and pepper hair and a putrid essence the result of a prolonged lack of hygienic opportunities. "I'll be honest with you," he said to me, "could you spare some change so I can get a beer?"
Instinctively, repulsed, afraid, on guard, and dumb struck by his condition and audacity I got up without saying a word. I turned my back and walked away. I did not look back. At home I reflected upon my actions, or lack thereof. I told myself I had no responsibility to help this old man, it was not my problem, it was not my fault. As I shopped in the supermarket later that day I lamented this price of a gallon of milk. That night I slept uneasily.
The morning news carried the usual news about the recession, the poor economy, and the sagging housing market, the price of greed. The price of gas was holding, but expected to go up. Cynically, I thought "sure after the election in November." But the story that caught my eye was this:
"Walter Flynn, 62, was found dead in Prospect Park this morning. Though the incident is still under investigation, police do not suspect foul play. According to authorities, Flynn, a long time area resident was a known to be indigent. A Vietnam War Veteran, and Purple Heart recipient, Flynn had a history of mental illness. He is survived by his ex-wife Renee Hilton and a son, Michael of Salt Lake City, Utah."
There was a picture and I immediately recognized the raggedy man from the day before. "Hard times," I thought, "Not my fault," I thought, "There, but for the Grace of God, go we all," I thought.
Module 5: Cause and Effect
How I Got My Cat
I should have known. The apartment was on the second floor with a view of the parking lot. The furniture was typical college, second hand, great technology. Her roommate was slightly overweight, slightly jealous. I had met her the first week of the fall semester. It was a science class and we became lab partners. I still do not know if she chose me, or if I chose her. Maybe we just chose each other. Maybe it was caused by pheromones; after all it was a biology course.
During the "getting to know you" phase of the courtship she told me about her previous relationship with Kevin. They had hooked-up in high school and had been together until the prior summer. She described him in a fashion that inspired the saying "hell hath no fury…" She had explained that she had broken it off. He now attended school in another state. She claimed her feelings for him were over. I believed her.
Our relationship progressed from study sessions to dating rapidly and she invited me to meet her parents. Dinner was awkward at best. It was evident that her father still had feelings for Kevin. Her father practiced law. "Tell me about yourself," he cross-examined.
His gaze never left my eyes. When I had finished he shook his head sadly, slowly glanced over at his red faced wife, then stared down his daughter. "Sorry," she said in the car on the way back to her apartment. She told me that her father and Kevin would play golf. She said Kevin and her father had a lot in common. She also implied Kevin was abusive, though she was never explicit.
Her cat had a litter in October. She quickly was able to place all but one. One night in November just before Thanksgiving, her lips pouted, and with big sad puppy dog eyes she asked if I would like the last. I should have known. She promised it would not be much trouble, (cats are notoriously independent) and I named the cat Spot. I had always wanted a dog.
Classes ended, winter break came, and she suddenly got busy. I did not think too much about this as I was busy too. I called her a couple of days before Christmas and we had dinner. When I asked about Christmas Eve or day she was evasive. We made no plans. I stopped by to see her the day after Christmas. She was obviously surprised to see me when she answered the door. "We need to talk," she said.
Kevin had come home for Christmas, had stopped by to see the family, and she wanted to "date" him again. "I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment," she said.
"I guess I'm not," I said. I turned and walked out the door. That was the last time I saw her, though I think about her a lot. I still have the cat.
Module 6: Compare and Contrast
Online vs. Traditional Classes
Online education has grown tremendously in recent years. Technological innovations have made it possible for teachers to forsake the traditional classroom while providing learners with easy access to course material. There are many benefits and many challenges to online education.
Online classes offer many benefits. This method of education provides a time-independent and place-independent learning environment which makes it convenient and flexible for different learners. Ease of access to information, including syllabi, course assignments, rubrics, power point presentations, and supplemental material, is available 24 hours a day seven days a week. Online classes serve the needs of students from various backgrounds and age ranges, individuals who are not able to have access to traditional classrooms because of time, geography, financial considerations, family, or work constraints can have access to the resources online. Availability of information makes it possible for students to study in any location at any time of the day according to their schedule. This method of teaching allows students to be flexible in their use of time as well as providing an alternative for those who did not have the opportunity to seek further education before because they live far from campuses or have limited time for campus education. Instructors benefit from the flexibility of teaching at home instead of going to campus.
Three types of people are attracted to online classes. They are busy working people who want to advance their career, frequent travelers, who physically find it difficult to attend college, and parents who want to, or have to, spend more time at home with their children.
Another attraction of online education is the ability it gives students to choose from a greater spectrum of different universities that offer online programs. Since physical distance is no longer an issue in the virtual environment, students are not limited to the few universities near their area. Furthermore, online programs attract students all over the world. This provides an opportunity for students to broaden their perspective on various topics since they are able to interact with students from all around the globe.
On the other hand a traditional classroom setting has the benefit of allowing students to exchange ideas and questions with one another and the instructor without any communication barriers. This enables students to learn complex subjects in a community environment. Critics of online education point out that the isolation of students from one another as well as the instructor may diminish the value of the material learned and the educational experience. The value of students learning in the same classroom and the benefit of exchanging ideas and questions with one another cannot be replicated in online coursework. First-hand interaction allows for ideas to be exchanged freely and spontaneously without communication barriers.
It is apparent that whether one prefers traditional…