Back to Basics

I have a love/hate relationship with computers. It took me years to transition from pen and paper to pc and laptop. The number of hours and bottles of wine needed to write my first blog post would make one laugh out loud.

It’s not the computers fault. It’s my need to complete the entire experiential learning cycle (ELC) when learning something new. For those unfamiliar with the concept, I’ll try to explain.

Most people have a preferred way of learning. Some are visual, some are auditory and others like to jump in and get their hands dirty – also known as kinesthetic. Me? I need it all.

I must have the written directions in front of me. Every single step or keystroke. Then I want someone showing me and talking me through each step. Finally, I want to do it myself, make a few mistakes and have someone there telling me how to fix it in language I will understand.

So today, I’m going back to square one and trying to build a blog that others might want to visit. At least, that’s what the instructions in the tutorial say they can teach me. Wish me luck.

Pen Pals in Today’s World

Computers rock! LaptopComputer
I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it is true. I’ve often written post in support of pen and paper (Rock, Paper, Laptop). Don’t get me wrong, they still occupy plenty of space in my home and always will. Yet, my appreciation and respect for my keyboard increased significantly during the past five weeks.

My daughter sent me a link,, because she knew I might be interested in taking a class that was being offered, Crafting an Effective Writer. Coursera is an education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. I’m all about learning and jumped at the chance to take a free class to update my grammar and punctuation skills. For the record, the site also offers many classes that have nothing to do with writing.

Besides refreshing my over 60 brain on the proper use of pronoun antecedent agreement and compound-complex sentences, it connected me to the rest of the world, much like pen pals could when I was young. Information shared in the discussion forums indicated 43,000 participants initially signed up for the class.
Imagine my delight in communicating with students from Mongolia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Ukraine, just to name a few, who all shared a similar interest in writing.

I gained a profound appreciation for my native tongue. For a large majority of the students, English was a second language. Having only taken Latin in high school, all of which I have since forgotten, I couldn’t imagine trying to achieve success in a challenging course written in another language. I admired and learned a great deal of humility from my fellow writers across the world. I also hope to take a second language as soon as the class becomes available.

One of the first expectations of the course was to record the weekly writing assignments in a blog, such as WordPress My knowledge of this blog site, as limited as it is, helped me immensely and the weekly assignments gave me new ideas for my posts. What a win-win situation and I even gained quite a few new followers.

Yes, I can honestly proclaim, computers rock. Getting and giving immediate feedback is better than snail mail, especially when you are taking a five week course, but there is still something endearing about finding a handwritten letter in my mailbox from time to time.