Looking Back and Forward: A Final Reflection

Final Program Reflection

Masters in Adult Learning – HRD Track

Courtesty of:  www.11toolssbisd.blogspot.com

Courtesty of: www.11toolssbisd.blogspot.com

 This program reflection will include a reflection on the capstone course.  The course reflection was eliminated to provide flexibility during the very demanding capstone project.   Rather than not reflect of the capstone experience, I’m choosing to integrate it into this reflection directly as I feel it was truly a capstone experience and in need of some critical reflection.

             I’ll finish my M.Ed. as a 42 year old adult learner, after three years of evening classes, working full time and juggling all of life’s demands as all adult learners do when they return to school.  This was the fourth master’s degree that I started.  My first attempt was in a computer programming program and I quickly learned that the time spent behind a computer screen and alone, was not consistent with what I wanted out of life.  My second attempt was in a Sport Management program and much to my dismay, many of my concerns about being a gay man in the field of sports proved true very quickly.  After experiencing pervasive homophobia, sexism and bigotry, I decided I could not remain in that program and grow personally while trying to grow professionally.  My third attempt ended before it started; however, I did spend 14 months planning, testing, applying and preparing for law school.  After being rejected by 8 schools, I spend a few years getting over the rejection, reframing the experience and trying to understand what I really wanted for myself.   In the meantime, my job had grown and I’d been given much more responsibility in my position.   My interest in what I was already doing was blossoming as I was allowed to explore possibilities and grow the scope of my work.  After hearing about the M.Ed in Adult Learning program from a colleague, I decided to take a closer look.   I was intrigued by a philosophy of learning that centered on the learner and focused on reflective practice.  In addition, the curriculum of the HRD track looked to be a perfect fit for my current and growing responsibilities in my job, for which my commitment had solidified.

           From the first class to the last, my expectations were surpassed.  Much like comfort one feels when they step into a room of familiar faces, from the first meeting of my first class, I knew I was in the right place.  As we each talked and introduced ourselves in that first class meeting, I felt supported, encouraged and welcome into the environment and I realized just how important this was to my learning, a theme that I would soon learn is central to the learning experience for most adults.  I could also see that the professional diversity and similarities to my own work, among the others, was going to be valuable to my experience.  What I also soon began to realize through my new friendships, academic connections and connections in the program, was the importance of and desire I had for relationships in my life.  As a self-proclaimed introvert and one who had always prided himself on being independent and self-sufficient, I came to realize  that the very thing which I’d praised myself for, was counterproductive to that which I truly desired, being more connected with people.  Almost everything I learned in the Adult Learning program also emphasized the importance and benefit of making and nurturing these connections with other people.  From our classmates to our colleagues, true learning is only fostered through these relationships and connection.  It was a continually enlightening experience to see and understand the silos I’d built in my professional life and the island I’d put myself on in my personal life.  As I learned in the program, once I started to question these things, the intervention had begun and the change was unfolding.  The importance of these relationships and learning to ‘bring down my walls’ through interaction and reflection, was the central most important theme throughout my learning experience in the program.

            My evolution over the past three years while in this program was exponential compared to previous years.   As a communicator, I learned to be patient, to listen and to hear what I was listening to.  I learned to question, not only that which was important to me but to question that which would be important to the person who was speaking, not to get what I need but to help them find and figure out what they needed.    In essence I learn to give through communication and not just take.   In addition, I can to realize that through active listening and question, I could learn far more.   As a learner, I evolved to discern, dissect and extract information and to then reflect on that information. 

            Of incredible importance to me was a change in self-perception I gained early on in the program.   I never saw myself as a ‘learned’ individual.  I did not go to private school. I was not a model student in high school and I certainly did not get a strong classic education.  However, I had failed to recognize and appreciate the learning I did outside the formal classroom throughout my childhood and as a young adult.   As I learned the many “faces of knowledge and learning”, I gained a new appreciation for the deep and breadth of my mechanical skills and abilities.  I had always taken this tacit knowledge for granted and thought of it is common to all.  By understanding this knowledge as valuable and unique, I came to value myself as a capable learner and to understand that I was and am an experiential and activity based learner.  Through this understanding, I become a more confident and capable learner and I know how to best compliment and address my own learning style.

            At my job, I have taken on an additional role as our staff development guru.  My supervisor has come to depend on me to help look at issues within our division and develop best practices for addressing problems and facilitating change, a role I am now comfortable and confident in.

Stand Out Moments of Learning

            Throughout the program there have been many ah-ha moments and time of exceptional learning.  If I were to try to identify some of the areas of greatest learning, aside from the many aspects of personal growth that I’ve already talked about, I would start with talking about understanding organizational culture and change strategies.  This was an area that I really sunk my teeth into.  Part of this may have been the very hands-on approach we took to learning much of this material.  Creating and holding a large group intervention in the form of an Appreciative Inquiry summit was a true stand out moment in learning for me.  This was an exceptionally successful exercise.  My team chose a practical and actionable topic and executed a fantastic, albeit brief, summit.   I hope that for future students, they are encouraged to choose their subject matter or topic carefully as the learning from this project will be lasting and more meaningful for those vested in the process due to the nature of the topic.             

          My capstone experience proved to be a true final amalgamation of everything I learned throughout the Adult Learning program.  As such, it was also served as a refresher of much of the information I’d learned over the past three years.  It was a pleasure to work with a team of students who had been through Groups and Teams, Consulting Skills and all of the other core curriculum courses.  It was like working with a well-oiled machine.  Not only were we all well versed with the core curriculum and skills, we were all also experience with working with one another.  Our learning curve was short as was our time.  The long delay in IRB approval forced us into a very compressed project schedule but the team was unfazed.  It was amazing how smoothly things went and how well everyone stepped in and out as needed. 

           I do question using a research project of this large scope for a semester long project.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an incredible learning experience, not only in the process of action learning, but the secondary learning was huge.  I learned a plethora of information and knowledge about healthcare policy, hospital policy, the roles of the many health care providers, the evils of health insurance policy and the trials and realities of living without insurance. However, I do still feel that we could not bring the action learning full circle due to the inability to implement some change strategies or intervention based on our research and then re-measure or evaluate the original problem or research question.  That said, the overall capstone experience was outstanding. 

            Over the course of the entire program, if I was to identify a weak point in the learning process, I would talk about what I call the ‘glue’.   That is to say, I feel as though the dots need to be explicitly connected throughout the program and in every class, which illustrate how everything continually ties together and how everything ties back to the goals of the degree and chosen track.  Much of this is obvious and becomes much clearer later in the program, but early on in the program I think it would be helpful.

            So, the obvious question I’m left with is… to Ph.D. or not to Ph.D.  I think I need a year to think about it.  I intend to talk to Dr. Carter and Dr. Muth about the Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs and about my goals for the future to see if there would be a goodness of fit for me in one of these programs.  As all working adult students go through, this has been a true test of juggling competing demands, making sacrifices and persevering.   Looking back I wonder if I was engaged enough at times; did I put my best foot forward at all times?, did I do bring all of myself to the learning experience?, did I properly reflect on all of my experiences and do my best to integrate that which I’ve learned? 

Courtesty of:  www.11toolssbisd.blogspot.com

Courtesty of: www.11toolssbisd.blogspot.com

I believe I did. 

Consulting Skills – Final Reflection

Consulting Skills – Final Reflection

 

Courtesy of fire-in-the-sky.com

Courtesy of fire-in-the-sky.com

            With all that I’ve learned this semester, the strongest theme that rings true for me is that consulting is a practice and art in human relations.  I liken the entire process to that of clinical psychotherapy.  The client and consultant mirror the therapist and client in many ways, and like all  therapy, the consultant works at helping the client self discover the issues that lie beneath the surface that are causing some stress or disorder.  This mirrors the presenting problem and how it is later broken down into a technical side and human side or management side problem.   A skilled consultant can’t lead a client down a corrective path too quickly; she must first earn the trust of the client, again, like a therapist / patient relationship.  It’s a delicate process requiring an appropriate amount of intervention and lot of people skills.  Much like the therapist, a consultant must all not rush to a solution until the foundation of efficacy is built.  In the therapist/client relationship, rushing can actually reverse the progress in the helping relationship.  The same can happen in the consultant/client relationship, where rushing may lead to a reversal, also termed as “sudden healing” on the part of the client.   Thus my philosophy draws heavily on the work of Schein and Dixon and less on Block.  Although Block provides us with a wonderful template, in my opinion his work does not emphasize the human relationship and dynamics enough.

 

            Skills for life:  The practicality of most all the skills learned in this class was a highlight for me.  I enjoy learning when the information is bigger than the immediate application.  Dixon’s work and writing on dialogue was amazingly insightful to me.  In particular, understanding our own tendencies and ‘baggage’ when it comes to communication was very enlightening.  Of course, I’ve learned much of this before, but Dixon packaged and presented this information in such a way that it was particularly meaningful for me.  I think her attention humility and to Freier’s work was a big part of making this exceptionally meaningful for me.  I believe in Freier’s work and am engaged by his desires for and dedication to social equality and social justice in learning.  If I remember properly, he was even jailed for his conviction and dedication to literacy for all.  Dixon builds on Freier’s ideas to drive home her point about humility, love, and common sense, three highly essential skills in successful communications and thus consulting.  Much of my communication in my personal life has been characterized by friends and family as critical, over logical and sometimes overbearing.  Thus, Dixon’s focus on humility, self reflection in thought and Freier’s work hit home for me and keep me very engaged.

      It was also wonderful to connet the knowledge and learning to a real and meaningful project.  I think this sort of experiential learning needs to be threaded through the curriculum both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  

 

courtesy of cartoonstock.com

courtesy of cartoonstock.com

            I never had a particularly disengaging moment or area in the class.  If I had to point to something that was ‘less engaging’ for me, I would say it was reading Block’s text.  Although it was very useful and extremely practical, it was just less engaging than the rest of the class work / experience.

 

Consulting Skills #4 Contemplation and Silence

Consulting Skills #4 Silence and Contemplation

Today I registered for the last class required in my M.Ed program, our Capstone course.  I was excited about the prospect of completing my last required registration for the program.  After working at VCU for 16 years, and starting three other graduate programs, I finally sunk my teeth into a program that was a good fit.  With that said, I find myself now considering the Ph.D. program.  Hopefully my planned cross continental bike trip next summer will provide me with some clarity of thought and needed direction to make this and other decisions.

I was very please to read Block’s chapters on the feedback meeting.  As we collect survey, conversational, document and observational data, I was beginning to wonder how we would pull everything together.  I was also getting lost the breadth and volume of feedback.  It was very grounding to read the very methodical process that Block outlines for the distillation, presentation and analysis of the data with the client. I’m now very excited to get to that work.  However our survey closed today and we literally have one week and one day to put all of this data together and prepare for the feedback meeting.  It will be a challenge, to say the least.

On a different topic, I was very pleased that my Dialogue presentation with Kacie went so well.  I definitely sensed that some of our classmates did not see the value in the process, but I do hope they took with them the concepts that underlie the process and the belief that those concepts can be applied within their organizations and in fact in every conversation.   I was very surprised that I started to open up in our short dialogue and even more so at how authentic and willing some of my classmates were in  sharing  their perspectives.

Switching gears yet again, I was in a very difficult meeting today with partner and funder of one of my major programs.  This funding partner is taking the program into very unchartered territory.  Part of this new territory is relocating the administrative office and two of our (VCU’s) full time staff, to that office.  During this meeting, I found myself practicing Shein’s concept of suspension in dialogue as I considered and contemplated my reactions to the information being presented.  At times, I found myself getting very protective and even a little angry.  However, through suspension, I was able to understand why I was having these feelings and reframe my perspective on the issues.  What I found, and what surprised me, is that while in suspension I was quiet.. and while quite, the funding partner become observably worried.   At one point, she asked, are you O.K.?  To which I had no answer except to say that I was processing all of this information.  This felt very uncomfortable to me, mostly because I was worried about what the client was thinking about my silence.

Consulting Skills #3 Shocked/Resistance

Consulting Skills #3   Resistance

            I find it fascinating to compare the concept of resistance in process consultation to the physical concept of resistance in the science of electricity.    Measured as Ohms in electricity, resistance has both good and bad qualities.  It is resistance in electricity that creates heat and light and allows up so exploit it for our benefit.  However, when trying to simply transmit electrical energy from on place to another, resistance has a negative affect on the efficiency of the transmission.  In process consultation it is recognizing resistance that often leads to breakthroughs and progress, thus much like the exploitation of resistance in electrical energy.  Dr. Carter describes these breakthrough moments as ‘ah ha’ moments and I envision a light bulb coming on over a person’s head.   However, when in the course of consulting or even just conversing, unrecognized, or unexploited, resistance only creates inefficiencies in flow or the exchange of ideas and words.   One might take this further to parallel the types of resistance in process consultation to the levels of resistance in electricity, or OHMS.   Perhaps the resistance demonstrated by a compliant client equates to lower level of resistance or low OHM rating.  When recognizing this type of resistance and determining the cause, the consultant will have an ‘ah ha’ moment, but perhaps not one that really ‘shocks’ him or her.   However, the consultant who is dealing with resistance that is manifest in aggression from a client, is more likely to be shocked by the discovery of the cause of the aggression, or at least have a more dramatic ‘ah ha’ moment.   Someone encountering electricity that was being contained through high resistance or a large OHM rating is much more likely to be knocked to the floor at the point of interaction or shock.   O.K. enough fun with resistance parallels.

provided by www.morecoolpictures.blogspot.com

provided by www.morecoolpictures.blogspot.com

            I have, for years, been learning to communicate and listen with less resistance.  I was the guy who could not and would not accept help, advice or input without providing great resistance.  I felt everything was a challenge to my knowledge, understanding and level of intelligence. This feeling of being challenged was a ‘fear’ of being uncovered as just that and caused me to resist greatly, and in most cases, miss out on opportunities for real growth.   As Block said, resistance is all emotions.

Consulting Skills #2

Consulting Skills #2  Gearing up for ‘Reality’.

As we discuss out team consulting projects, I find myself growing a little nervous.  The prospect of approaching a client feels much like the nervousness I remember having in the days before starting a new job.   It’s both exciting and scary at the same time.  I find myself concerned about my ability to do a good job, about how I will be perceived my out client, about what affect I may or may not have on the situation that is presented to us.

We learned in Organizational Change, that being on the edge of chaos is often the most productive place to be in terms of growth and learning.  I hope this will project will bring about much learning for me… no only about consulting but about myself.  I enjoy these experiential ‘tests’.  I imagine this is what the real heart of Service Learning is all about; mutual growth and learning through collaborative experience.

On another note, I found myself questioning Schein’s definition of ‘Ultimate Client’.  He refers to the ultimate client as the community or whole organization or system.   Ultimately it would seem, the ultimate client must be the customer’s or clients of the organization which we are working with.  Weather the organization is public or private and regardless of the type of business (service, non profit, for profit), ultimately every business is out to serve or sell to someone.  Thus, any problem we can assist with must be serving the ultimate goal of better business which is to say better service to the customer / clients.  So, is not the ultimate goal always going to be the customer since our intervention will ‘intimately’ affect the ability of the organization to serve the customer / client.  Just a thought.

On a final note, I’d like to blog about my semester from the perspective of an adult learner…call it venting if you’d like.  I’m at a place in my job where I’m realizing that I’m always a bit overwhelmed.  I’m always saying, “wow, I am just soooo busy at work’ and assuming things will change just around the corner, but they don’t.  So, as I work on my second to last class in the program and struggle with my job, an ailing pet, a looming cross country bike trek, an a host of personal things, I’m realizing that.. NO, relief is not just around the corner and I’m going to have to make some kind of adjustments so that my ‘now’ is not always waiting for my ‘later’ to be better!!

Consulting Skills #1

Consulting Skills #1 Reflection on Consulting as Related to the Employer / Employee Relationship

In tonight’s class several students brought up the relationship between consulting skills and managing employer / employee relationships.  I immediately began thinking of my recently added responsibility as the Director of a Masters program that is delivered throughout the state.  In particular, I began thinking about the change that I have brought to this program and the resistance that I have faced in implementing that change.  As we reflected in class on the value of face to face communications as discussed in the Block text, I reflected on the very real and profound value I found in consulting face to face with the faculty, students and staff of this program.

The profound nature and value of the face to face communication was only realized after having directed this distance program for six months and communicating almost solely via phone, letters, e-mails, a listserv and indirectly through the programs three regional academic advisors and other program staff.  There was much resistance to the changes I was making and I was getting direct and indirect feedback about the resistance to these changes.  This past summer, I started initiating meetings with faculty and I began getting on the road and visiting art exhibitions being presented by the students.  With each face to face interaction I had, I first could feel the uncomfortable nature of the interaction which I knew was cause in large part by the distrust of me due to the changes I had implemented.  I took only minutes in each one of these ‘consultations’ to see marked change in attitudes, trust and authenticity.

I was quickly learning the extreme value of face to face communication.  Although I do believe that very genuine and trusting relationships can be built through social networking, I believe the amount of change and the number of people I was affecting overwhelmed my ability to build each of these relationships at the rate and depth I needed to affect the change.   However, I found that the trust I built in these face to face interactions quickly spread throughout the program, even to those I have yet to meet face to face.

On a completely different note, I find myself somewhat worried about being able to digest the amount of valuable information we are getting in this class.  I often get this feeling at the beginning of a class.  Perhaps the integration of the information represents change in me and thus maybe my worry is partly a form of resistance to this change.  Further, perhaps this resistance is born from my concern about being able to handle this change / integration of information as a student.  Perhaps I feel it challenging my own sense of worth as an adult learner. I will work to keep this in check and ‘go with the flow’ as Block would advise.

It is all good food for thought as I learn to look at myself more critically, as a student, as person and as a consultant.

HRD Overview – Final Reflection (ADLT 620)

HRD Overview – Final Reflection ( ADLT 620 )

 

            It has been a whirlwind summer in HRD overview.  Although compressed in format, this class has been paced well and provided a wonderful foundation for HRD.   It was interesting to be so far through the program ( two classes left after this one) and taking the over view class.  At first, I thought I would be disengaging due to knowledge I’ve already learned in the program.  However, my level of engagement turned out to be the opposite.  The learning in this course has been kind of like putting the boarder on a 5000 piece puzzle.  The boarder has connected all the dots and has created a container for much of the program’s curriculum.

 

Putting it all together!

Putting it all together!

            In particular the foundational theories of Lewin and McGregor have illuminated and framed much of what I learned in Change Strategies, Instructional Strategies and Organizational Learning.  I found McGregor’s theories X and Y provide a conceptual platform from which to jump when looking at my own organization and trying to understand the culture and leadership.  

            In some ways, it has been difficult.  The more I learn, the more I see where the problems are in my own organization.  Yes, this should be a bonus so to speak and it is in practical terms.  However, knowing how things should be and being able to effect change within a complex bureaucracy of academia are two very different things.  I find myself trying to conceptualize the implementation of change at the local level while navigating the myriad of stakeholders and wider policy.  It was during these times of learning, when I could not translate practice to my own organization, that I felt most disengaged.  This is not to say the concepts or material was disengaging, just hard to conceptualize in practical terms from my limited perspective.  I often thought, “wow, it would be wonderful to work for an organization with a uniform strategic vision and a supportive structure”.  For this reason, some of my best learning has come from this difficulty.  It is said that the edge of chaos or confusion is where the best innovation and growth is born.  This is particularly clear to me now as I’ve learned how to tame my feelings of frustration through the development of local strategic HR planning that is locally driven but in alignment with the organization’s more global  planning. 

            My learning in this class had led me understand where I need more learning.  I have reflected on my own leadership as it relates to HRD and see that I need to network more both internally and externally.  I also have learned at the micro level, that I am too distant from those who report to me directly.   For this reason, I see some of my best work in this course stemming form our study of HRD leadership.   I’ve found the “HRD Wheel” to be an extremely helpful tool in conceptualizing where I am strong and where I am weak in my own practice.  I also found the visit from Laura Boone with OMU to be invaluable.  She really brought home the need to keep the business objective in focus and tied into all local objective and training.

            Thank you for a great learning experience.

Bounding HRD (ADLT 620 #2)

          We had a very enjoyable class last night, save the length <laughing>. I don’t think I could ever get used to a four hour class block.     It was interesting to examine the relationships between HRM and HRD and then to think about those distinction in relation to my organization.  My organization has a distinct HR department but no well defined or separated HRD / HRM sections.  We do have a “Training and Development Office”; however, the training offered is general knowledge and skills and not tied to any particular organizational objectives, goals or change strategy.   From and HRD perspective, this office is not addressing HRD issues except for the fact that there is learning and professional development taking place.  Does this constitute HRD?  I don’t think so, not without a focused and integrated purpose and measurable outcomes.  

 

          It seems odd that making these distinctions is in part at the discretion of the beholder.   Although we did examine some parameters and characteristics that distinguish HRD from HRM and that hold them together, the bounding and defining of the field is still vague.   I was glad to find out it was not just confusion in my own mind. 🙂

HRD, HRM, OD – Let’s draw the lines (ADLT 620 #1)

Whew!!!  This is going to be one whirlwind of a course, 2 nights a week, x 4 hrs a night x  5 weeks.  That mean we have 4 weekends to all the work in the course.  I don’t know about anyone else, but getting anything done on a week night is almost impossible.  The amount of work certainly seems reasonable for a 3 credit graduate course, but sure feels unreasonable to get done in 5 weeks.   So, here we go and we shall see!!

I have to admit, my own perception of what HRD is, was not nearly as accurate as I would have hoped and although we have just gotten started, I can already see just how far off I was.  It will be interesting to learn where the lines are drawn between HRD / OD and HRM.  I’ve never worked somewhere that had a strong OD or HRD function.  VCU, my employer, has a large HR department, but it’s my understanding that this department’s function is strictly HRM.  Our HR office functions include employee benefits, retirement, grievances etc but not training.

We also have a Training and Development Office at the university.  However, this office does not really take on an organizational development role.  The training provided it strictly optional and is not developed with particular changes in efficiency or productivity in mind.  There are also no post training measurements to determine if the training has had an affect on productivity, efficiency or other developmental goal.

So the lines that define hrd, hrm and od, are still very grey to me, and the more I read, the more new terms are introduced to me.   I’m looking forward to and hoping for some clarity.

Semester Reflection – Change Strategies ADLT 625 #6

This reflection will be more than just a reflection on what I’ve learned in my Organizational Change course.  I will reflect on the semester as a learner in the Adult Learner program and on my whole learning experience.  I’m going to write this reflection in the form of a letter.  In my Instructional Strategies course this semester, I read about an instructor who utilized a very creative strategy to help engage and motivate her students.  At the end of each semester, she asked a few students who had been successful in her class, to write a letter which could be given the students coming to that class in the next semester.  The strategy helped empower the students and gave incoming students a new perspective on what to expect and what to focus on in the class.  This ‘learning centered’ strategy seems brilliant to me. First, it helps relieve the typical anxieties the students typically have at the beginning of the semester, but it also provides a reflective practice for those finishing the course.  What follows is my letter to future students in Dr. Carter’s Organizational Change Strategies course.

Fellow M.Ed Adult Learner students:

What is ahead of you in this class is some of the most practical and useful information you will get in your program.  The class is broken town in two main parts.  The first half will provide you with a foundation of knowledge for understanding organizational change: who it impacts, how it impacts them, how to prepare them for it, how to communicate change to prepare your organization or community, what to expect before, during and after the change and how to manage it all.  In the second part of the class, you will learn about different large group intervention strategies.  In my opinion, this is some of the most valuable information and learning you’ll engage in during the program.  You will notice in the syllabus that you are going to have to host an intervention strategy and later debrief the class on the strategy.  This looks daunting on paper, and is in fact a lot of work.  BUT… you will enjoy it, and as with most things the more you put into it the more you get out of it.  This project was enjoyable, engaging and extremely practical.  I’m already conceptualizing how I will use a mix of these intervention strategies at my job.  I think you will find ‘nuggets’ in each of the main three strategies ( Open Space Technology, Future Search and Appreciative Inquiry)  you will learn that will appeal to you and your experiences.  Remember that these are templates and you can think of them as menus of tools that you can use in your own organizations and practice.

The first part of the class has an accompanying text which can be a ‘thick read’ at times, but stick with it!!  Hopefully, you will have a guest speaker toward the end of this first part of the class.  Our guest speaker was a human resource specialist from a local organization that went through some major change.  He grounded the theoretical and foundational knowledge that we learned early, in his own experience managing and navigating change.  His perspective and experience was invaluable to me in understanding and conceptualizing change theory and management by translating it in a real world example.   Again, I will say get through this reading and it will all come together for you.   I found that understanding the implications of proactive communication which emphasizes the efficacy and readiness of the organization to be invaluable information.  In addition, understanding readiness for, resistance to and fear of change are essential.  Be sure to read this part of the text very thoroughly.

In my class we were fortunate enough to have two students in the class who were from another program in another school.  If you should have the same experience, take advantage of working with and sharing with these folks.  It was highly beneficial for to have one of these students on my team.  I was able to see how human resource development and management are approached from another perspective and from another department.

Lastly, stay engaged in the blog process.  Be sure to read you classmate’s blogs.  For me, this was extremely helpful during the first part of the class when I was struggling with some of the text.  Each of your classmates will have insight into different areas of the materials.  It was through the reading of their blogs that I came to understand some of the concepts that I struggled with at first.   Also, leave substantive comments…it will encourage others to do the same for you and you will likely be surprised at the thoughtfulness and constructiveness of your classmate feedback.

Enjoy, get engaged and make the most of this class!