The Net Nerd’s Profiles

Can’t find that course on Soil Sciences at AU? Try http://www.distanceedcanada.ca

Athabasca University is hands-down the most comprehensive post secondary distance education institution in Canada. It has the largest selection of courses and programs in Canada, and suits the needs of thousands of students nationwide and abroad. But did you know almost every university in Canada also offers distance ed courses? Distanceedcanada.ca highlights these courses and programs at the various universities across the country. This website is a joint project of CAUCE (Canadian Association for University Continuing Education) and OCULL (Ontario Council for University Lifelong Learning), so although there are schools from across Canada represented, it does have a lot of Ontario schools.

When you first get to the home page, you have a few options: Search Courses, Search Programs, view a list of Participating Universities, browse Learner Resources, read the FAQ, or check out Quick Reports.

For the sake of this review, I’m a student searching for a biology program (just curious what other universities offer, since biology is often the hardest subject to take from a distance, with all the labs and such). First I search for courses. You have a variety of search options, but I left all the fields blank for the complete list of Bio Courses (right under “biology”, in the course offerings is “breastfeeding “: if anyone has taken a university course in breastfeeding, please let me know where, but I can’t promise I won’t laugh). I ended up with thirty-seven course selections. There are a lot of codes, but you can click on an abbreviation to see what it means. I clicked on “Infectious Diseases” from the U of Windsor and got all the course info and university contact info for that course.

Next I decided to check out what masters programs are available. There were a whopping ten results, so then I checked out bachelors programs. Hmmm.. 28 results. Something doesn’t seem right here. The learning resources have some merit, but the AU counseling services have tons more resources. There are probably more programs available than are listed on this site, but check if out if you want to add more variety to your distance ed course selection.

Neat Stuff: On the learning resources page is a list of other distance ed databases such as University Online and Canada’s Campus Connection. Remember this page on this website, it’s probably the most valuable page I saw.

Not so Neat Stuff: Ok, cover your ears!! ARGGGGG! This is one VERY incomplete database if I ever saw one! Simon Fraser University in Burnaby wasn’t on there, but they have an excellent selection of distance programs and courses available. BC Open University wasn’t on there either. Athabasca University wasn’t even on there, so that tells you something about this website.

Rating: **/5 I gave one star for the well organized layout and navigation, and one star for including the universities they did. For the record, I’m being very generous. A distance education database of distance ed programs and courses and the forerunner in distance ed was nowhere to be found. Check out this site for the links to other databases.

If you think Stephen Hawking is sexy and every episode of Battle Bots is in your video library, then check out.. http://www.eskimo.com/~billb

Just a warning, don’t type in just “eskimo.com” unless you want new internet services. This is eskimo.com/~billb. Ok, got it? I am not a science person – so not a science person – but I have an open mind. This website is for the science hobbyist. I figured this out because of the huge letters saying “SCIENCE HOBBYIST” on the home page. There is a lot in here, so I’m just going to highlight a few of their pages. I’ve spent a half hour in this site and haven’t even gone through half of it.

It is very family friendly, yet I found it clever enough for adults (or those of us pretending to be). I found this website to be nothing I have ever seen before. No, there aren’t any cool graphics or cartoons, all the text is in Times New Roman, and there are no big words (that’s very important to me). Lots of neat links, tons of quirky information:..I’m trying to explain it, but I can’t. You’ll have to check it out to see what I mean.

On the home page, there’s an invitation to new visitors to check out “GOOD STUFF.” I thought this would be a simple introduction to this site. That was a half hour ago and I’m still in here. So far one of my favorite parts is the “Evil Genius’ High Tech Practical Jokes,” though I don’t think I’ll try any. Still, it’s nice to know the information is there if I ever want to (for example, the Metavoltage Body Charger). Under “screwy ideas” you can find the web author’s list of “what if” projects, like “Lex Luthor’s Death Ray.”

I had to check out the Nerd/ Misfits Resources. From there I found out who the sexiest geek alive is (did you know Vin Diesel used to play D&D?), saw where I was on the Geek Hierarchy (I’m somewhere between Sci Fi fans and Trekkies who speak Klingon), and found a whole ton of websites otherwise known as Geeksites. Very interesting.

Lots of stuff for kids on here, like science fair resources, homeschooling links and a ton of other stuff. I have to admit there is just to much stuff here, you’ll just have to visit the site and see what I mean!

Neat Stuff: NO ADS!! (I’m having a love affair with caps today, sorry). Other than that there are too many neat things in here to list. Check them out.

Not so Neat Stuff: For the anal retentive person (like me) this site is overwhelmingly disorganized, but at the same time that’s also one of its endearing qualities. This site also relies a lot on other links and web rings, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Rating: ****/5 I’m going out on a limb here by giving this a four. That’s because I haven’t sifted through all the information on this website. Like I said, I am not a science fanatic or wasn’t even just a little interested, but this website made me want to find out more. I’d recommend it to anyone, science geek or not. Now excuse me while I go rent Revenge of the Nerds.

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