Reflections and New Perspectives

American Robin

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


I have been a little quiet, no doubt about it.  Wrapping up the January term had made me a bit of a recluse.  As the term progressed Sackets Harbor bore witness to the return of American Robins, Canada Geese, Blue Jays, and Sea Gulls; but I hadn’t seen much of them, at least not without the separation of a pane of glass.  Sigh.  Being a non-traditional student is tough like that sometimes.

I received high marks on my in-depth research project in Images of Woman in Western Civilization (IoWiWC); The Pale Face of KnossosI can’t describe how excited I was about that.  It was a great capstone to a very challenging course for me.  IoWiWC was a unique interdisciplinary humanities study that examined the evolution of western civilization; from a woman’s perspective.  Being an advanced study in western civilization and art, IoWiWC was a experientially truly mind opening experience; from a more utilitarian perspective it benefitted me by expanding upon my cultural awareness (great for character development, and marketability), and filled two general education requirements in my degree program(s).

I truly shined in Computer Programming:  Visual Basic (VB) which is excellent, given that it is one of the key courses in my major.  I suppose part of my success in VB can be attributed to the fact that I am a lifelong geek of sorts.  VB was a bit nostalgic for me at times because I had tinkered with it’s predecessor (Basic), and some data entry programming (the language escapes me) in my teen years; so for me studying VB was like revisiting a forgotten hobby.

Spending last term studying VB was especially beneficial for me because it was a great introduction to Microsoft’s .NET Framework, and Object-oriented Programming (OOP).  The .NET Framework is essentially the platform that’s used to develop and run applications on the Windows operating system.  So basically if you’ve used Windows, you’ve probably interacted with the .NET Framework and didn’t know it.  For tech pro’s working in the modern business environment understanding .NET is essential because Microsoft has such a strangle hold on the information technology (IT)/information systems (IS) infrastructure of most companies.

Object-oriented programming is the rage in software development circles.  The nuts and bolts of programming using OOP are far too expansive for the purpose of this post, but the short of it’s that developers using the OOP paradigm essentially develop modules of code that interact with each other to produce outcomes.  There are several other languages floating around the programming universe that use OOP (C, Fortran, Pascal and of course Java are some examples).  For me VB was a starting point, I’m looking forward to a future study in C++; in doing so I’ll be expanding my knowledge of OOP.

I doubt in my earlier years I would have had the patience for developing applications in VB; which is ironic because VB was intentionally designed to facilitate rapid development of Windows applications.  However, as a thirty something I found that I really appreciated the artistic nature of programming.  The activity is a bit therapeutic in the same way that painting might be.

As I waited to see my final grades, I took some time to breathe a little and prepare for the next term; which was a much needed break, as I had been fully immersed in academic work for the past year.  After my break I entered the current term with a fresh perspective, and new energy.

The current term is in full swing; and so over the summer my academic efforts are focused on the study of ethics as they relate to the information age, and information systems from the business perspective.



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