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Old 03-31-2013, 10:10 AM   #1
chiefsfan17
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Want to take some classes, have some questions.

Hi mates, my name is Brandon and I'm looking for a small bit of help.

I'm interested in taking some courses. I don't necessarily want to enter any sort of degree program because I don't see the point. I want to learn various subjects that seem interesting to me. Mainly maths, some business subjects, and also health/fitness related courses.

When I originally made this post I put this paragraph at the end and realized it probably belongs at the beginning: I have a pretty severe learning disability. I'm not mentally handicapped or anything like that but I was held back in 4th grade and had to do that level twice and also was in special learning classes for all of my school up until high school. In high school I was in all regular classes though. Technically I think all it is, is a severe lack of concentration (maybe ADD or ADHD or whatever it is called). I had been put on medication when I was younger but never stuck to taking it. I think I was on concerta and zyprexa in Jr High, IIRC the zyprexa was at night and the other one was in the morning. I honestly remember taking it for about a month and then I just stopped on my own because I didn't like it. My grades have always been awful in every level of school and it always seemed to me like it was a combo of me not caring at all, and school just being extremely hard for me in general.

I have actually considered going to a doctor about this (potential diagnosis and then maybe taking medication if it will help although I'd like to avoid it if possible) now that I'm so serious about wanting to go back to school at least temporarily, and possibly permanently until I get some sort of degree.

My questions I have are as follows:

What are the differences between taking courses online or taking them at a school? I am not talking cost differences, but possible differences in learning and such. Would you recommend online or in classroom? One issue I foresee is I travel a lot currently, and will be until June, so maybe I was thinking take online courses for now and then take in-school ones starting when I will be home full-time. Does that sound okay?

My main subject I want to learn is math as it interests me but I do not have much experience with it. Should I just be taking the lowest level courses that they offer? Someone recommended maybe taking a "placement" exam to see where I stand first. I haven't talked to a school yet but maybe I will try that this coming week.

I am planning to sign up for courses at a community college in NYC (BMCC), which is where I live. I've only asked one person so far and they recommended BMCC. It looked semi-expensive on the website but I am only planning on taking a couple classes at a time so it's not too big of a deal. Does anyone know of any other schools that they'd recommend NYC? I live in Manhattan, I'm not sure if that matters or not for schools in other boroughs. I'd assume it goes by state and not city/county? If a school is quite a bit cheaper that would help but if it's basically the same price I'd rather stay at the one nearby. If anyone is familiar with schools in the area I live on 9th St/3rd Ave so anything nearby would be great but I don't mind travelling a bit as long as it's not terribly far. I'm obviously only talking community colleges and I'm clearly not going to be able to go to NYU and such anyways.

How many courses would you recommend me to take at a time? 1 or 2? I have plenty of free time until mid-late June and then I will not have nearly as much free time at all as I will be working 40 hours a week.

Sorry one last edit: I am also interested in various computer science related courses too. Any recommendations there would be great.

I am 26 years old if that matters.

Cheers,

Brandon

Last edited by chiefsfan17; 03-31-2013 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:15 AM   #2
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Re: Want to take some classes, have some questions.

Oh one other question. A friend told me for the fitness/nutrition stuff he would just read books instead of take courses. Would you all agree with this? What are the advantages of taking an actual course at a school for something like this, as opposed to just reading books on the topic?
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:23 AM   #3
coffee_monster
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Re: Want to take some classes, have some questions.

A few things immediately spring to my mind.

1. All schools (I think it's safe to say this) have some sort of "disability office" where you can be granted appropriate accommodations for whatever disability you have (even temporary). It would almost certainly need to be documented, however. I believe it could take a while to go through all the proper channels, including diagnosis and such, so you might want to start as soon as possible if you think you would need that. In your case I would guess you might get extra time on exams. I have seen people get notetakers (mostly another student in the class paid to take good notes and give them to you) but I'm not sure that you would qualify for that. But regardless of what you might be entitled to, I would suggest you stop by that office first.

2. Take the placement test/talk with an advisor. Without knowing what HS classes you've taken in math, and without knowing how long ago/how much you've retained it's difficult to tell you what to do. I think especially at CCs, the lowest level math is quite remedial. You may need it, and it's there if you do, but if you don't need it, it might be a waste of time. Again, this all depends on the classes you've taken and what you've retained. I'm sure that a CC would be set up to almost force you to do something for placement. If not, ask, but I would be willing to bet that you'll have to take a math and English placement exam (or at least be strongly encouraged to do so).

3. For the number of courses, that really comes down to a personal choice. As a sort of guideline, most places recommend that you spend 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class. So for a 3 credit class you'd be in class for about 3 hours, and to do well, the average student should probably spend another 6-9 hours over the week on reading, homework, studying for exams, writing, and the like. That time can obviously vary depending on how prepared you are, how hard the class is, and so on. There could be classes where that amount of time isn't necessary, though learning math especially requires repetition and practice. Although time might go faster especially if you're taking only classes you're interested in (and not fulfilling gen ed requirements). That said, I'm sure there are plenty of students who devote significantly less time to their classes than they should.

Also, remember that those times are averages--both for student-to-student study times (one student may just need more than another) and over time (especially if you take several classes, exams might be around the same time for a couple of your courses, and you might need to devote more than the average amount of time).

4. (the question in your follow up post). What you get from the courses is the availability of an expert. In my field there are some good youtube videos on the material as well as a couple of websites specifically devoted to the material (including khanacademy which has lots of different subjects. It might not be the best for self-study, as I've seen some critiques panning the video's pedantic approaches, but it is good as a suppliment). However, there are MANY other videos out there on my subject that are misguided at best and crap at worst, yet they sound correct. A beginner wouldn't really have the tools to be able to tell the difference. I believe in health and fitness that sort of stuff is called "broscience".

I wouldn't really want to steer you one way or the other on the fitness/nutrition stuff because like the earlier comments, it depends--do you have someone who can steer you towards the reputable books and away from the crap that sounds good? Though I would also say that a beginner might not be able to differentiate between an expert and an "expert". One strategy might be to take an introductory class or two, gain some tools, and then proceed.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
skater3598
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Re: Want to take some classes, have some questions.

www.edx.org so many amazing free courses you can do from home from world renowned professors. If not, go to a community college and use the Khan Academy to help you in your intro classes.

for your ADD/depression: take a multi vitamin daily, exercise, and eat only extremely healthy foods.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:47 PM   #5
GusJohnsonGOAT
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Re: Want to take some classes, have some questions.

Honestly, self-learning is the best way to go about this except for the math type classes. I would do those at a community college because it will force you to focus on that subject, and you have a support system if you struggle.

But honestly don't see the point in not getting a degree out of this. You could easily knock out 30+ credit hours just in the math and comp sci courses. Might as well just get your associates and have something to show for it. Plus you'd only have two more years left if you ended up trying to further your education.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:57 AM   #6
skater3598
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Re: Want to take some classes, have some questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skater3598 View Post
www.edx.org so many amazing free courses you can do from home from world renowned professors. If not, go to a community college and use the Khan Academy to help you in your intro classes.

for your ADD/depression: take a multi vitamin daily, exercise, and eat only extremely healthy foods.
i hope my recommendation for ADD/depression which is dead serious but which was given with levity doesn't detract from my dead, dead serious recommendation (for everyone) to utilize EDX and Khan Academy+community college rather than hopping into a university. Definitely knock out 52 credit hours or whatever the maximum is allowed for a university at a community college. It's a shorter commute, local students, costs 1/5 as much, excellent professors, and isn't the giant for-profit snarling beast of corporate america which is the university proper. maybe that's just my take, but the truth is universities aren't going to accept these new, free online formats and adapt to utilize them fully at the rate which they should.

OP: if you're interested in math i'd recommend knocking out everything on Khan Academy and doing some practice problems, perhaps online or perhaps in a used textbook, before taking your placement test, OR if you want to just sign up for whatever class you get placed into and utilize Khan until Khan is irrelevant which appears to be post-calculus. there are literally 100+ videos on Khan about prepping for standardized testing in addition to segments for each type of math up to calculus taught in a format that is easy, easy, easy to watch at your leisure and taught by some badass who is fun to listen to.

Everyone in intro to bio/poly sci/math etc should recommend to their classmates in class on the first day to utilize Khan and recommend to their teachers to put it on their syllabus' as addition study sources. Every highschool teacher and every intro class in college should be utilizing these, no excuses.
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:27 PM   #7
chiefsfan17
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Re: Want to take some classes, have some questions.

So....two years have gone by with this and I've gotten pretty much no where. Recently I have got some extra free time w/ work settling down and thought I wanted to do school again but then all the sudden I became busy again. I'm pretty sure that was just hectic end of year stuff going by and the new year seeming so easy and not being much to do. Now that I'm back in crazy mode I feel like it's impossible. Not to mention im currently living between two cities (not something required, just something im able to do and do so voluntarily) so if I wanted to start school up Id probably have to change that. I don't think I'd be able to take online classes. That would never work.

Skater- thank you for the recommendations. I am going to look into the Kahn Academy thing as well as a few other things and I will make a more detailed post later.
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Old 01-28-2015, 11:46 PM   #8
mightykites
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Re: Want to take some classes, have some questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefsfan17 View Post
So....two years have gone by with this and I've gotten pretty much no where. Recently I have got some extra free time w/ work settling down and thought I wanted to do school again but then all the sudden I became busy again. I'm pretty sure that was just hectic end of year stuff going by and the new year seeming so easy and not being much to do. Now that I'm back in crazy mode I feel like it's impossible. Not to mention im currently living between two cities (not something required, just something im able to do and do so voluntarily) so if I wanted to start school up Id probably have to change that. I don't think I'd be able to take online classes. That would never work.

Skater- thank you for the recommendations. I am going to look into the Kahn Academy thing as well as a few other things and I will make a more detailed post later.
You can also take plenty of free classes on your own time via MIT OpenCourseware. Not for credit, but give you the backgrounds you may need and you get all the course materials from many MIT courses. I have filled in some gaps from my undergrad degree using this, and as long as you show you have the skills to back it up, things not being on a transcript are not always super important. Best of luck, happy to give more input.
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:25 AM   #9
love24blght
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Re: Want to take some classes, have some questions.

hello brandon-sry to intrude in this thread
i cant answer u by pm cuse it writses like this
chiefsfan17 has exceeded their stored private messages quota and cannot accept further messages until they clear some space.
so u can add me on skype or just clean inbox that i can send pm,and answer is ,yes i do
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