The Diary

Recently a friend of mine had a slight accident involving a sombrero, 5 gallons of guacamole, sheet music for Ricky Martin’s “Living da Vida Loca” and an accordion.  Needless to say, it was all very messy and she was laid up in hospital for some time.  Tired of television, she asked me to pick up some reading material from her place.  Always eager to help others, I agreed.  While transporting a box of books, a small volume slipped out.  It was pink faux leather with the faint impression of the word “Diary” where it had once been stamped in gold leaf.  After jiggling and pulling on the lock for about 5 minutes, the book seemed to magically open.   I thought it interesting enough to share some with you.  I have changed some information so as not to reveal Margaret’s true identity…

April 10:  Dear Diary.  First day at the Institute.  What luck to find such a place that is enlightened enough to fund groundbreaking research such as my study of the effects of lawn edging on the behavior of red ants.  I’m in such awe to be at the same place as where Dr. Lundaman’s study proving that bees’ earwax is completely different than beeswax—I mean it’s just awe inspiring.  I’m going out for champagne.

April 26:  Dear Diary.  The Institution has signed me up for an on-line training course.  I’m so excited.  It’s an asynchronous course on grant writing.  I’ll be logging onto a web site, getting my reading material, conversing with others using threaded discussions, and posting my assignments.  It’s flexible and not only will I be learning from the instructor but sharing and learning from others.  I’m going out for a new mouse pad.

April 27:  Dear Diary.  Just got the course outline.  Pretty confusing.  Module this, assignment here, quizzes, tests, group projects, individual projects, there’s even a quota of postings I have to make.  The whole thing is over 8 pages long.  I’ve never had a syllabus this long in all my classes.  Ah well, it should be worth it.  I’m going out to stock up on coffee.

April 30:  Dear Diary.  First day, and I’m already lost.  The server has gone down twice.  I don’t know which tab to find the assignments listing.  And the posting I’ve typed twice now has been lost again.  I’m going out for hot fudge sundae.

May 17:  Dear Diary.  It’s been two weeks since I last wrote—sorry.  I’ve been so busy with this on-line course I’ve little time for anything else.  I was on-line last night, and then when I got up this morning, there were 22 new messages!  Between the assignments, the readings and keeping up with all these posting—I’m spending more time here than I’ve done in any face-to-face class!  I’m going to my yoga class.

May 26: Dear Diary.  She’s driving me crazy!  A fellow student in my on-line course is posting long rambling messages…going way off the point of discussion.  We should be talking about sentence syntax and she starts talking about taxes on cigarettes and how the government shouldn’t interfere with our commerce.  I pointed out that perhaps she’s getting “syntax” mixed up with “sin-tax” and what does she do?  She insists she wasn’t mixed up, and indeed her comments are relevant to sentence syntax as it was a powerful demonstration of how easily homonyms can be confused.  Her ramblings add 30 minutes reading a day, and detract from valid points made by others!  I’m going out for a drink.

May 30; Dear Diary.  That’s it!  I’ve had it! I’ve been going on 3 hours sleep a night and still behind on everything.  There’s too much to read, I’ve got my individual assignments confused with my group assignments because they’re both different from my paper and nothing like the project.  The readings from electronic reserves take 30 minutes to download, and the last quiz I took got lost in cyberspace!  I’m dropping this course!  Which means I’ll loose my job…but you know what?  It’s okay.  It’s okay because I have a plan.  I’m dedicating my life to performance art…I’ve got my accordion…and I’m going to make my living on the streets…among real people…and away from computers…

This was the last entry I saw.  It was enough.  A fine young women cut down in her prime by the power of online learning.  I delivered the box to her with a tear in my eye.

Craig rambles on his site, Read “A Facilitator’s Blog.” The focus is on process improvement, which includes facilitating events, running organization’s programs, and training. Read it a

Author: Craig Plain

Craig “Doc” Plain, Ph.D. is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, an award-winning Speaker, a Shingo Prize Winner, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, and tenacious practitioner of magic. Doc has over 20 years of process improvement experience. Additionally, he has been involved in training development and delivery at Fortune 50 companies, the military, and several universities. Doc’s dissertation was on the impact implementing process improvement programs has on the social capital of an organization, such as training. Craig was the Air Forces first Instructor for their Black Belt program. He has also been guest lecturer at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Purdue University. Doc has presented conferences for International Society for Process Improvement (ISPI), Academy of Human Research Development (AHRD), and American Society for Quality (ASQ). Doc is capturing various stories of facilitating and training at “A Facilitator’s Blog.” (