When I began my world cruise in January of this year, I had no idea that I was going to complete three units of academic credit on board. I truly believed that I was going to have to put aside my educational goals until the summer, since my cruise began in January and ended in April. However my cruise ship, the Crystal Serenity, provided an opportunity for me to complete three units of academic credit on board, meaning that I would not have to wait until summer to take coursework. Del Mar College of Corpus Christi Texas offered an academic program of computer classes on board ship and, once all seven of the classes were completed, 3 units of academic credit would be awarded. Since I was intending to return to Cal State San Bernardino at some point in the future ( when money would allow) to complete my BA in English, I knew that following this academic program would be just what I needed. Not only would I be able to transfer the units to San Bernardino to complete a computer and information systems requirement, but I would also have the opportunity to become proficient in Windows as well as the Macintosh operating systems. What a golden opportunity!
There were seven different lessons that I was to complete in order to earn the credit that I needed. The first lesson was Microsoft Word and all of the features that came with it. Class time on ship revolved around the port schedule so we didn’t always meet, and there were times when we had to complete a class that would on land last for a whole term with only three days of lecture and then it was time to take the test that we had to pass with a 70% in order to complete the lesson. Our class met on sea days and was divided into two sessions; the first session was a lecture from 1pm until 2:30, and the second session was lab time from 2:30 to 3:30pm in which we students got to apply what we learned in the lecture and from reading the texts by completing several different lab assignments per session.
My favorite of all of the lessons was the second class which taught us to create Powerpoint presentations. Using Powerpoint freed my artistic creativity. I used what I learned in class to make different presentations of various ports on my trip, so that I could remember them for later writings. I also made a presentation for my teacher to honor and to thank him for all of his help to me, and to show him what I had learned. When I got home I made a presentation for my father for Father’s Day.
After Powerpoint the next two sessions involved using Adobe Photoshop to make adjustments of various kinds to different photos. We had various class projects to complete within the number of sea days per segment, and many of them took longer than I had anticipated, so I had to spend lots of extra time in the lab working hard to make sure I could complete the work by the due date. I had to sacrifice other fun activities on board ship to complete this class, but it was worth it because I really wanted to get the 3 units of academic credit.
The final two sessions I had to complete online when I got home, because my trip ended before the World cruise did. The last two sessions were on internet security and using Microsoft Excel. I had to read two chapters in the text, and I had to complete online lab assignments and quizzes, as well as two additional homework assignments. I was not able to complete all of the work on my computer since it was a macintosh, and some of the assignments required a PC, but my brother let me use his laptop PC so that I could finish my work.
I completed my assignments and exams within the appropriate deadlines, and there was a graduation ceremony on board that I couldn’t participate in, because I was already home by then. My father, who was still on board (he was on for the whole 3 month cruise) accepted my certificate for completion which read as follows:
Del Mar College Computer Science and Information Technology Department
Corpus Christi, Texas
Certificate of Completion
Introduction to Computers, Microcomputer Applications (COSC 1301-2901)
This is to certify that Barbara Lynn Hagen has successfully completed COSC 1301- 2901 coursework for which 3 semester hours of college credit will be awarded- dated this 4th of May 2009
I was so proud of obtaining this certificate and for meeting my academic goals for the semester, and I learned that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. It took many hours of hard work, and I discovered that complete dedication and focus on a goal without giving up yields the fruits of success and builds self-esteem. This experience also taught me something else, however. This class taught me the importance of a truly great instructor in the success of a student, and it taught me qualities that I would like to give my students if I have any in the future.
My teacher gave of himself more than I have experienced in any teacher in my life. He was always willing to help his students, and he made extra time for each of his students even though he had other shipboard duties as well. There was no sacrifice that he would not make for his students. He also instilled confidence and self-esteem in each of us, and when I was discouraged and felt like I wanted to quit, Stan was there to pick me up and help me to keep going.
I learned a lot from this computer class on the ship; I learned to use a non-Macintosh computer, and I learned Windows Vista. I also learned Powerpoint, Adobe Photoshop, and Excel. Most importantly, however, I learned that hard work and determination leads to success in any field or endeavor, and I also learned what it takes to be an effective instructor.