You Can't Hug a Collie on the Phone
For those who don't know me, you need to understand one important thing. Kinda like the way Dickens notes in his Christmas tale - if you don't grasp this one fact, much of the entries in this category won't seem significant.
I live in Duluth, Minnesota. I am studying for my doctorate in Madison, Wisconsin. Between the two points lie some 330 miles. I am not in a distance education program but a traditional, residence required one. I am also a project assistant doing research in Madison. How does one pull this rabbit out of the hat??
The sad fact is that this trick can be pulled off only by throwing resources at it. I maintain two homes: a house in Duluth (where my family lives) and an apartment in Madison. I have two offices as well - one at home (moved from my suite in Canal Park) and one on campus. Don't ask me where any of my books are. Like Schroedinger's cat, I think they exist but I can't open the box to provide it because they are in an indeterminate state that I don't want to risk making determinate - I might find out that I lost one or more.
I have computers. Too many.
I drive a lot. I make up for the sheer amount of driving I do to and from homes by walking as much as possible when I am on campus.
In short, I manage this because I am in the upper-middle class. That wonderously mobile group that can increasingly extend its influence around the globe by use of technology. I can drive to Madison and back weekly, talk to friends in Tokyo, and do research on people located at almost any point of the globe. Despite the hand-wringing about the shrinking middle-class, right now is a wonderful time to be in that group.
But what if I were NOT in this position economically, as so many bright and talented students are not? How many potential, mature students simply don't go to school because of the disruption to their lives that it would require? This is a puzzle, and makes we wonder if the residency requirement of so many quality programs is truly necessary.
So, in this category, I will place observations about what I'm doing that focus on where I need to be in order to do that particular activity. The question will be, do I truly have to choose between colleagues and the collie for 3 to 5 years? Or is there a way to have both - opening up the highest levels of education to a broader variety of people?