Most people complete the course in about six months. I’ve known people to complete the course in just a couple months and I’ve known some to take a few years.
The Graduate School provides options for folks who want to complete the course quickly. However, the instructors and Graduate School staff have serious concerns about people rushing through at the expense of usefully applying information they’re reading and retaining what they’re learning. If you plan to move quickly through your studies, please be aware of our concerns and weigh how important it is for you to rush through.
Below are some options for speeding things up.
Sending more than one lesson at a time:
- You can send more than one lesson at a time. Answers to some lessons will affect future lessons and you may miss a few points on later lessons if you do this, but some students don’t mind the trade-off. My only caution when doing this is to remember to wait to see feedback on each index-preparation lesson before sending the next index-preparation lesson. That is, wait to send Lesson 6 until you receive your graded Lesson 5 back. Likewise, you should wait to send Lesson 8 until you receive your graded Lesson 6 back. And (I bet you see this coming) wait to send Lesson 11 until you receive your graded lesson 8 back.
- Be sure to use correct postage when you send bundles of lessons.
Sending lessons through email
- If you’d like to do this, please follow these guidelines.
- Remember to include info that is usually included on the Student Response Sheet: your mailing address, the time it took to complete the lesson, the version of the course that you’ve got. To find the course version number, look on the first page of your course guide (just under the course code). This version number should also show up on the Student Response Sheets in the same box as the Lesson #.
Receiving graded info through email
- If you submit lessons through postal mail but you want me to send grade info through email, please make this request on each Student Response Sheet that you send to me.
- For index-prep lessons, I can email scanned images of my handwritten notes. If you want this to happen, please make this request on each Student Response Sheet that you send to me.
- For all other lessons, I can email PDF copies of answer keys. If you want this to happen, please make this request on each Student Response Sheet that you send to me.
Sending your lessons through postal mail:
- If you’d like me to return lessons by Priority, Express, or Overnight mail, send a check for the postage amount along with the hard copy of your lessons.
- Fill in the Student Response Sheet (cover sheet) fully. Leaving some boxes empty requires me to search students’ registration information in my files so that I can fill in boxes for you. Too many incomplete response sheets in one week does cut into my allotted grading time.
- If you send lessons by postal mail and want me to send you grade info through email, please make this request on each Student Response Sheet that you send to me.
- Send assignments following the instructions in my welcome letter (provided in your course packet). As announced on USDA-indexw you may now send lessons to my street address. If you don’t have my street address, contact me and I’ll give it to you.
- Please do not send packages requiring signatures. I often get my post office mail when the post office isn’t staffed. I may make several trips before I’m able to go during staffed hours. Mail that requires a signature may sit behind a counter for as long as a week before I’m able to come in at a time when I can get it. Canadian post requires signatures for Registered mail so your packages will be delayed in reaching me if you send lessons as Registered mail.
- Be sure to use correct postage. If lessons arrive at my post office with postage due, I must visit the post office when it is staffed. I may make several trips to the post office before I’m able to go during staffed hours, which means using incorrect postage can slow down the process.Verifying receipt of your lessons:
- When sending your lessons by postal mail, you can send them Express Mail, Overnight, or Priority instead of First Class. Sending your lessons via return receipt mail is an excellent way for you to be notified that I have received your lesson. However, please do not send packages requiring signatures. I often get my post office mail when the post office isn’t staffed. I may make several trips before I’m able to go during staffed hours. If your mail requires a signature, it may sit behind a counter for as long as a week before I’m able to sign for it.
- Please wait 3 weeks before contacting me to finding out where in the process your lessons are. I send graded assignments back to students at least once a week. When I have time, I grade and mail lessons more frequently. With one-week turnarounds, most students find that their graded lessons are in their hands within 2-3 weeks of sending them to me.
- Holidays are great times to get ahead! Most students take breaks from their Graduate School course during holidays. That means I get a break around that time, too. However, holidays are then followed by a huge surge of Graduate School lessons. What does that mean for you? Sending your lessons before and during the holidays ensures the usual quick turnaround. Sending lessons immediately after the holidays means you’ll likely see longer turnaround times.
- Dawn Spencer has written a great article called Over 80 Productive Things to Do… while you are waiting for your lessons to be returned.
Special treatment (better known as “for me, can’t you just…”)
- I can’t accept lessons submitted by fax. This is a due to both logistics and finances. Logistically, we’d have to arrange a time convenient for you and when I would be in my office with my fax set to answer incoming calls. Based on the volume of requests sent to me for submission by fax, I’d probably invest quite a bit of time, energy, paper, and ink printing students’ lessons. I’m sure you can understand why this is a donation I’m not prepared to make.
- Altering the processes described above for individual students is something I’m not prepared to do. I have EDIT3360-C on my priority as one entity, not in different spots according to individual students’ needs. Singling one student’s lessons out of dozens that pass through my hands each month takes too much out of my allotted Graduate School time (for grading, responding to e-mails, and taking calls) and is too unfair to all the other students assigned to me. Wouldn’t you feel ripped off if I decided that another student’s needs were more important that yours – leading me to always put their lessons on the top of the pile and grading their lessons before yours? That’s what I thought. ‘-) I don’t want anyone to feel that way about this course… So, on this page are several options for speeding up the process. It is up to each individual student to figure out where this course falls on their own priority lists. Is it worth investing in Overnight mail? Is it worth the time to send multiple lessons in bundles?