Monday, November 15, 2010

Early Bird Penalty

I think it is fair to say that your success in AMP will in some part depend on your ability to make time to study. Each person in AMP will have a different personal schedule, but I think it is fair to say that with a full time job, a little boy who has his father's personality and various other commitments, i'm as stretched thin as anybody else in the program.

What I have discovered is that there is a bit of an early bird penalty. What happens is that the homework assignment is given to the cohort shortly after the class is over. Invariably, there will be things that are unclear about the assignment. As members of the cohort begin to ask questions of the TA or other members, items that are unclear are resolved. The first person to "pioneer" through the assignment does so without the benefit of someone else finding all the nebulous items and getting clarification from the TA. If things are unclear to enough people, the TA will send out an email clarifying the assignment. If you didn't have this information, you may spin your wheels in the wrong direction for some time, or sit there and scratch your head and try to figure out what you are missing. Thus, the early bird tax. Those that come through later have the benefit of those that go before.

On the other hand, those that do their homework late play a different game. There is only so much time for the material to sink and for the student to iterate over their work. So, we have a bit of a trade off. I tend to get a bit anxious if I don't have my homework squared away, so the early bird penalty is worth it to me, because at least I feel like I am putting in work towards learning.

Sometimes it makes sense, especially if the assignment builds upon itself, to only go so far and let things shake out.

If you are fortunate enough to have a job that will let you flex work, then this is the time to get in work. If things are still unclear about the assignment, put in work with your day job so that you can have more time to work on the assignment en masse.

Okay, my $.02 and unrefined. I need to get back to studying.

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