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Opening Day, Fall 2008

Yesterday, 2008 August 25, was the first day back to class for thousands of Daytona State College students. I was amazed by how busy the campus was, but it was likely because I only saw it between class periods when all the students and faculty were shuffling about.

Welcome back, Daytona State College students!

A sign in the courtyard out front of the theater (building 220), welcoming the students.

New parking lot

The college’s new and improved parking lot. All this land used to be just grass, unused, and the parking situation was horrendous. Over the summer workmen replaced it with hundreds of spaces.

The science building

Building 410, for science. This was my first visit to the building, way at the back of the campus, for Physics I and Biology. Very nice; I like all the glass panels.

My first day was a lot of fun. I think I like Physics the most, though it’s probably the hardest. My speech teacher, Dr. Kenneth Walker, is a very good speaker. No umms or uhhs or kindas or likes in anything he says, always quick and to the point.

The biology class is really big, and I was impressed by Dr. James Backer’s work and resources on the website. The first day of class, we had a test, though it was just for statistical collection (how much we know about biology before biology class). That was interesting.

For calculus, we started off reviewing algebra / trigonometry / pre-calculus. Since I don’t use any of it in my daily life, I’ve already forgotten most of the concepts, so I’m working on re-learning them for the duration of the course (and Calculus II and beyond).

I got the wrong book for Calculus (MAC2311). The right one is James Stewart’s Single-Variable Caclulus, Early Transcendentals Version, 6th Edition. I have Edwards & Penney’s edition. The wrong one was only $3.57 from Abebooks with free shipping (how can they afford that). I called Dr. Benjamin Landon to get the ISBN of the right book. It is 9780495385592 (ISBN-10: 049538559X). I ordered it from Amazon.com for $47 with shipping. He gave me the ISBN for the teacher’s edition, but it’s actually much cheaper than the regular one (compare to $130).

I’d been wondering why all the faculty home pages were gone. No one told me. They’ve been moved to class.daytonastate.edu. Yes, they’re using the same system for offline courses as online courses now, Desire2Learn. So all the information has to be added by the faculty there, and you log in with your username (first initial, last name, last 3 #’s of student ID) and password to see your courses.

Also, my paper said my speech class was at building 220 with Mary Hemmelgarn, but it was in fact with Kenneth Walker at building 520. I was with two other students in the wrong class room, before they noticed the sign on the door. I’d seen it first but thought it was for someone else because it had the wrong room number on it and the name of a different teacher. We had to run a half-mile across campus and we got to class late. I printed my schedule up a couple months ago; they must’ve changed teachers for the course in the interim.

Why wasn’t I emailed about the move to class.daytonastate.edu, or the different teacher, or the moving of / typo for speech class? I certainly get a lot of other emails from the college, but when it comes to the important stuff, Daytona State often has no communication. It’s a shame.

Overall, it was a good day, though. The physics book is 1600 pages and weighs 8 pounds, and the other books are only slightly better. I just have a bag I carry them in; no backpack. It’s undoable in the heat and with the long jogs between buildings (building 520 to 410 mainly). So I bought a luggage suitcase with wheels yesterday. That should make things easier.

Physics class is 4 days a week, so I’m going in at 10 A.M. (it’s 8:20 now). I’ve read the first chapter. It’s an introduction to scalars, vectors, precision and accuracy, units of measures, the components and products of vectors, operations with them, the theory behind physics, and more. Lengthy and complicated, though it’s the shortest chapter in the book.

For the first day, I gave out a 4*6 copy of Glass Rain to all the students in every class except Speech (because I was late). The rest of the semester I’ll be exhausting the old stock; a lot of classics and my best work from my portfolio. I can’t get them printed cheaply anymore, so new stuff is a no-go. Fortunately, all of my work is new to most of the students, except a few friends who I was in the same classes with before.

Simplicity is the piece for today’s Physics class. I’m going to make a chart up for the next two weeks and post it here tomorrow.

Simplicity by Richard X. Thripp

Daytona State College has no marketing sense

Eight-week schedules – accelerate degree completion by taking eight-week classes instead of the traditional 16-week class in a semester.”

I’m sorry, that just doesn’t cut it. It has no heart, no spirit, no feeling. It sounds cheap, shallow, and robotic. It should be this:

Eight-week schedules available for ambitious students. Do you pick up new skills quickly? Learn at a faster pace with more rigorous and engaging courses.”

I hope they change it to my suggestion. State-funded colleges can be bad at self-promotion, but we can change that. The page the quote is from is their save gas initiative, where you save gas by taking online courses (clever, huh?). Check it out. I like the “comprehensive college experience” part.

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