Pain is temporary, failure lasts forever

Lean, agile living for the running mother of Peter

2009-02-01

Why do you bother?

(Agile stuff can be found on http://annaforss.spaces.live.com/)

As I covered earlier, I'm taking classes in Informatics this spring. The schedule is tricky, I'm working full time and try to spend as much time as possible with the family and also to have some kind of social life. Studying adds a lot of complexity to this puzzle. But I guess it's self selected.

Since I've been working with Informatics in some form for over ten years and with a previous bachelor's degree, this could probably have been a work in the park doing these basic courses. But then, I cannot help getting involved.

Having worked with training and usability for so many years, I get pretty disappointed at courses in the area of for example usability to present sad examples of just that. The tool that is used for the online course (WebCT, Blackboard) is terrible. I don't know if Mittuniversitet is using a very old version but if this is the best of online training systems of the day, the market should be open for new actors.

Then when it comes to the actual classes, the quality of the small things are so poor. For example, instructions in some cases has been written in one paragraph and is almost impossible to read (if the text is a decimeter in height and 1,5 decimeter in width, separating the text in different paragraphs is a good thing..) Word documents sent out to be used as templates are so poorly built that they are rather a hinderence than help. How someone in an academic environment today can fail in making heading numbers is a mystery. Either they lack basic computer and usability skills or they lack a sense of quality. What pride do you have in your work if you don't bother about these rather simple things? It's no wonder that one of the principles for lean software development is: Build quality in.

So, what do I do? I complain and I discuss. I simply state: this is not good enough! As a customer, I require being respected and presenting poor tools, outdated theories and low usability is showing lack of respect.

My husband wondered why I bother. And the reason is not as simple like I have to complain. I think I have a responsibility too. Yes, my primary objective of the classes was learning something new. But I also have the responsibility that with my experience try to make some changes to the classes. New students have nothing to compare with. But I have, and this is below the standard of what you can expect. And I want to say that both to the teachers and the other students.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to be clear the things you complain about have nothing to do with the WebCT system itself.

Anyone can make bad word documents. You can't blame the tool that just shares the shoddy document.

February 1, 2009 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Anna Forss said...

Of course the document issue has nothing to do with my view on the implementation of WebCT on this school. It might be a good tool, but the implementation on this school, I found really hard to use. The overview is poor, the browsing leaves much to wish for and there are some other issues which are annoying. for example, I can not mark discussion posts as read if I'm not interested in them. I have to open them. In this case there are discussions on sections on the course which I've already completed. but if I don't continue reading all these posts I cannot see when new posts arrive on other threads.

And if it's a setting, why is that harder to find then how to change colours on your client?

February 1, 2009 at 9:51 PM  

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