Robert Casad, Ph.D.
I have been teaching English, communication, and humanities courses since 1966. I started teaching college composition and engineering writing at the University of Utah. I have since taught at The University of Puget Sound, Bolton College of Education in England, and Green River College in Washington State. I have also worked as a professional writer and program manager for the City of Seattle, Pierce County, and various private companies. I am currently Faculty Emeritus at Green River College and teach a few Internet classes from casad.org. If I am not teaching on the web, I will probably be singing, gardening, practicing a sport, or learning a new craft. My primary academic interests are communication, humanities, and the philosophy of science.
Back to Humanities 100 Introduction Syllabus
Characteristics of Independent Learners
Note to the Online Learner, particularly
those in English and Humanities from Dr. Casad
An independent learner at the college level can control a two-hour block of time (sometimes longer) without digression. The student can set up and finish a less than one-hour task, four separate times in twenty-four hours. Independent learners hit the books (the web) every day in some way. The independent learner frequently uses online dictionaries, encyclopedias, style guides, and expert criticism to get at relevant meaning, to get leads to primary sources, and to understand primary sources (the report, the experiment, the poem, the essay-- the original).
Independent learners are used to solving problems on their own since they have had to succeed often on their own effort.
Independent learners set high personal standards. They expect to be the best students.
Independent learners are curious, open-minded, and tenacious.
Independent learners are interdependent not dependent. It's not what can you do for me; it's what can we do for each other?
Now you must be an independent learner. If you don't control your time, don't take online courses. If you cannot stay on task and focused for an hour or two (frequently), don't take a distance web-based course. If you do not have to succeed on your own, don't pursue online academics. Don't be dependent; be interdependent. Offer information. Read all the material at the site. If you cannot find something after having read and studied all the material, ask the instructor. Ask the instructor specific help questions, but not until you are familiar with the site material. If you see an error or a link is not working, report the error or bad link to the instructor. We all learn from mistakes. Don't bluff. The instructor will know when you are not reading the material, or studying important concepts, or following the instructions. Don't ask, what is a comma splice? Or what is a run-on sentence? Or a fragment? Use spell checks and grammar checks. Learn formats. Lay out sentences, paragraphs, sections, illustrations, essays, and reports. If you are working with abstract thoughts, give concrete examples. Provide specific observational and experimental detail. Don't get stuck. Move on. If your thinking is still fuzzy on a concept after much focused analysis, set it aside and work on something easier. Take many small steps. Do not give up. You will loose some of your work. Start over. Get it done. Do not be late. Learn to cut/copy and paste. Learn to set up files on your hard drive with simple/rational titles, e.g., Your Last Name1-3 Hum100.
By all means, take the initiative. The instructor will keep track of all your work. Your efforts to learn and improve your work count most. Errors are not important if corrected in subsequent work.
Best to you, rfc