Monday, November 5, 2012

Because my Professor Heather Bruton took the time

You wouldn't know it by looking at her serene composed photo in meditative Yoga pose, but Professor Bruton was a tough teacher! She was also just what I needed. Having not set foot into a classroom in over 25 years, I was ill prepared for the multifaceted college workload of reading, research, writing, class participation, testing and study.

Professor Bruton, was at that time; a new mother of a biracial baby, newly married, a Doula specializing Yoga instructor and held a Masters in Social Work. I knew all of this because, with strong self-assurance, she used her life as example of what could be done. With Dave Ellis' twelfth edition Becoming a Master Student in hand, Professor Bruton guided the class through the Chapters: Transitions, First Steps, Time, Memory, Reading, Notes, Tests, Thinking, Communicating, Diversity, Money, Health, and What's Next.

*"Instructors are very selfish of your time and attention. When you are in their classrooms, they want your undivided attention and want to use every second to teach you what you need to know."   ~Professor Heather Bruton

Professor Bruton was a prime example of this statement. She packed so much information, instruction, and activity; enmeshing all with her personal life experience, into every session, that I would most times leave the class with my head swimming. New ideas, varying perspectives and questions about questions were all enveloped in an aura of self doubt. "What if I can't make the grade at my age?"

Discovery wheels, visualization, and metacognition all seemed a bit "New-Agey" to me, but I did the assignments anyway. I was determined to get the most out of this class and my tuition dollar. With patient comment on my assignments, Professor Bruton skillfully guided my sometimes detoured path.

A critical essay on bilingual education was my first writing assignment. "Aha! something I can do well with not too much effort." The lack of effort reflected in my grade, a meager 6 out of 10 points. I was crestfallen and on the verge of giving up on college. All I could see was a near failing grade.

Original photo by Kattekrab
I gave it some time. One bad apple of a grade was not going to spoil a whole bushel basket full of dreams I had for my future in both work and academia. I concentrated instead on Professor Bruton's positives of  "Good Beginning/Great Topic" and "Rework this...could be an "A" Paper."

Photo by BuzzFarmers
As I trudged through each assignment, I discovered something. By engaging myself; reading and re-reading a new concept, working and re-working an exercise, using and applying the lessons to fit my life as an Adult Learner, the class got easier. I was less and less afraid to ask for help from Professor Bruton or discuss assignments with both my traditional and nontraditional classmates.

Four years, one Degree and one election later, I find myself still using many of the skills and lessons I learned in Professor Bruton's College Success class. The Master Student Map of Why, What, How and What if, helps me drill down  to core, my research for article and website construction and aids in problem solving.

Of all the lessons learned, outweighing even portion control (pun and duality of meaning totally intended ; ) researched, intelligent voting is the one that sticks with me the most. Every election has me devoting countless hours in research of the issues, political platforms and candidate voting records of bills and legislation that affect my family, work and community. And yes, I did submit a paper Debate Project Election 2008 to Professor Bruton. This once self-doubting nontraditional student finally made the grade.

*This is a not verbatim quote. It's pretty close though. Guess I'd best review Chapter 3 on Memory. ~Kathleen


Ellis, D. Becoming a master student. St. Charles, IL: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009. Web. <>. 
Ackroyd, K. (2008). "Press "1" for English Bilingual Education versus Total Immersion"
Ackroyd, K. (2008). "Debate Project Election 2008"

Linkedin: Heather Bruton 

Flickr Creative Commons:

College of Southern Nevada 2012-2013 General Catalog and Student Handbook (pdf)

Coyuchi Free Shipping Offer -- $100 Minimum Order -- use code Organic100

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ozarkian Rearview

You can’t stop progress: Ozarkian Rearview
By K. H. Ackroyd

Lake of the Ozarks in Midwest Missouri is changed. One way roads of Highways 54 East and 54 West dizzies me. Backtracks and left turns brakes the 65 mph speed limit. Exits and merge redefine the trek with names of;

“Passover,” “Parkway” and “New.”
The old stillrunner’s directions preambles and prompts some not so distant Ozarkian memories.
“Just go down the road a piece, past the widder’s (widow’s) place and hang a right at the “T.” The big ol’ elm will point the way.”
Directed down meandering gravel roads, no map nor GPS, the destination; a given.

Now, the “big ol’ elm” has fallen. The “widder’s place,” a paint-peeling, tin-roofed, wood-slat home, has in its stead, a modular prefab of cookie cutter ilk. Lost is the craftsmanship enabled by pride in gentle non clear-cutting harvest. Select wood, once home and shelter to generations of an Ozarkian family, becomes crumbled kindle.

The blackberry patch, with supportive weathered, lean-to fencing;  dual sacrifices to a perfectly manicured, invisible fenced lawn. Small saplings punctuate a groomed landscape. Evidence magnificent is this homage to a commercialized channel of  Gardening Nouveau.

The Barn Owl calls tree his new home; he is a reluctant hunter. No field, hence, no field mice. And the rat eating black snake is banished and garners no eco-understanding.

The bend of tree still points to water. Her purpose expires. She sloughs her bark in obsolescent surrender.

Honeysuckle, fresh mown hay and rain before the rumble, blows trace faint. Wafting Whisper newly names usurped abundance. Fading is the odoriferous reminder.

Faster now. Highway 54 tracks faster. All is small in rear viewed Ozarkian memory.

Image Credits:

Lake of the Ozarks - Missouri's Premier Lake Destination
Flickr Creative Commons - Jo Naylor
Flickr Creative Commons - derekGavey

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Because my Professor Judy Fightmaster took the time

There would be no Perpetual Andragogy were it not for CSN Professor Judy Fightmaster's patient instruction in her CIT 198 (Now CIT 154) Dynamic Web Applications class. Basic Googling and websurfing did not give me the technical skills of linking to a source, uploading photos, creating and embedding 'How To' videos, or embellishing my blog and site with the rich multimedia I wanted and needed to showcase my nontraditional adventures.  In retrospect, I wish I would have taken the class much sooner than my fifth semester.

The class is entirely online. This was a new experience for me also. Mastering CSN's Web Campus was, initially, a bit daunting. Could clicking a wrong button tumble me down some techno rabbit hole? Would I be forever lost in EduTron Land?

Thankfully, CSN has a tutorial on how to navigate Web Campus. This pre-class gave me the confidence and know how I needed to download and upload assignments and more. Even though I had not fulfilled the prerequisite class of IS 101, I was familiar enough with computers and the internet to request, via email, admission into the class.

The seven week class entailed an introduction and final analysis of Web 2.0 and its real world applications. Five hands on projects taught the use of Google Docs, Blogs, RSS (Really Simple Syndication), YouTube, Social Networking, Social Bookmarking, Wikis, and Screen Capture Casting. The final project, a class Showcase Portfolio, moderated by Professor Fightmaster, encouraged collaborative feedback and edit amongst the students.

Student collaboration and teamwork was not only the overarching theme of the class, it was required. At first I was a tad ruffled by being 'required' to interact with my classmates. I was here to learn to advance my goals, not other people's. Besides, I didn't want to look like That Person who always asked all the dumb questions.

Leave it to Facebook to force my hand. You wouldn't know it by looking at my Facebook Profile today, but the pre 2010 me was afraid of the privacy disregarding Evil Facebook. But, social networking was one of the required class components, so I decided to chance it.

Imagine my surprise when I went to sign up for  Facebook and could only get to the French landing page. At least my first dumb question "I can't find the English facebook page! Je ne parle pas fran├žais ce bien!" didn't sound quite so dumb punctuated with a foreign language. Fellow classmate Elaine came to my rescue with a reassuring "Don't worry, little things get us all stuck now and then. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for language choices." This first peer comment foreshadowed the beneficial interactive discussions I would have in this class and many more classes in the future.

Of the five Spring 2010 semester classes; Financial Accounting, Stars and Galaxies, Dynamic Web Applications, Intro to Interpersonal Communications and Intro to Criminal Justice, I would have to say I spent the most time in and on this class. The class was not more difficult than the others I was taking, but it was the most interesting.
"If we know why we are learning and if the reason fits our needs as we perceive them, we will learn quickly and deeply.” —Malcolm Knowles, Educator.
This was not to say that Dynamic Web Applications did not require detailed attention and considerable time. It did! Reading and commenting on other people's blogs and participating in required discussions was time consuming. Professor Fightmaster, led by example. She always commented on every post and answered every question. 

Because my Professor Judy Fightmaster took the time, I can today boast a considerable toolbox of skills which I am able to bring you via two websites with social platform integration, Google tools and YouTube interaction. I can Facebook, Tweet and Pinterest. And I can catalog, curate and archive it all via Flickr and Diigo.

Professor Fightmaster has other classes besides CIT 154. I know because I took the Access Database precertification course from her. It was challenging, to say the least.

For more information and the classes Professor Judy Fightmaster has coming, please visit the College of Southern Nevada's

Department of Computing & Information Technology-Faculty

Related Posts   It's Due When?     Deadlines and Dropboxes     Learning: It's more than the courses you take

Because my Professor took the time: A Compendium of Gratitude

Image Credits: What the Bleep!?Down the Rabbit Hole; Facebook Profile Cover; Facebook; Judy Fightmaster

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Because my Professor took the time: Introduction

As you can see, Perpetual Andragogy has taken a different turn. I have not given up on my ultimate goal of Archivist. Yet I cannot, in good conscience and in our uncertain economy, commit to a full time class schedule and amass more debt. College is expensive!

With a High Honors Associate of Arts degree from the College of Southern Nevada, augmented with professional certifications and self-study courses, why can't I find suitable employment?

The job market, specifically the Las Vegas area, has yet to recover. "Among the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 200 population of 1 million or more, highest unemployment
Source: via Kathleen on Pinterest
       rates in August were registered in Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev." ( With diluted enthusiasm, I continue my job hunt; despite these dismal statistics. The answer to my question, "would it [returning to college] be worth it?" is "not yet."

But this is a site about Andragogy; the adult learner; the nontraditional student. If I'm not in college, how can I tell you about my Academic Adventures?  While I was taking classes, doing homework, contributing to my community and juggling my home life, I was only able to give you glimpses of life as a nontraditional student. Now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I can now give you an in depth, reflective observation of my Andragogical* Adventures.

 Glad I have only 'a touch of Sometimers'
In the weeks to come I will bring you the series: Because my Professor took the time. Each installment will feature a CSN Professor and the class taken. I will highlight also, the lessons learned and how I use this knowledge in my daily life. Be sure to check the series' static page for links, updates and more information. You are welcome to ask questions or add your own input in the comment section. If you have a question you don't want publicly displayed, feel free to message me on facebook.

*"Andragogical Learning Theory - Beginning in the 1950s Malcolm Knowles developed a new theory - which he called "Andragogy" - in the context of adult learners."
Source: Wikipedia

College Piggy Bank from Tax Credits via Flickr Creative Commons

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Project Angel Faces Tweetchat Join us LIVE #pricklypaf Wednesday, September 19th

Learn more about the Prickly Pear You may be across town or on the other side of the World. But you can still come have fun with us at Project Angel Faces' Garden Club   "as we learn how to clean, eat, juice, and store cactus fruit!" 

It's almost Juice Time!


Take me to the #pricklypaf Tweetchat Room

"We cultivate Hope for the Future."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Get Prickly with Project Angel Faces Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at the Whitney Recreation Center

Guest Post by Rhonda Killough, Founder of Project Angel Faces

Come have fun with us at Garden Club as we learn how to clean, eat, juice, and store cactus fruit!

RSVP on Facebook
At Garden Club, on September 19th, we'll be peeling, seeding, juicing, and freezing cactus fruit with apples and grapes to make popsicles, and drinking juice. 

GC Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly Pears grow wild in abundance on cactus throughout our valley. They have loads of good nutrition that can help to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, and migraines. They also strengthen teeth, bones, our immune system, our nerve, enzyme, and amino acid functions, and help keep our fluid and electrolytes balanced. They taste like the color red, tart, mildly sweet, and with the texture similar to a pear.

Garden Club is such a wonderful program because the children get so excited to learn about new foods, they can hardly contain themselves. The activities we do are empowering to these kids; working with the foods, trusting the children to get their hands on the process of learning.

We get to practice learning so much more than just about working with food: patience, listening, sharing, respect for peers and teachers, non-violent communication, and sometimes cultural exploration!

It creates a lasting impression on them, and that is empowering for me as a community servant. My favorite part is how much they love learning how these foods we introduce build and grow their bodies, and make them stronger. They love being empowered by knowledge, and having so much fun in the process! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 from 4:15pm - 5:45pm Project Angel Faces will teach the cleaning, paring, juicing, and learning the nutrition of a locally abundant fruit, Prickly Pear!

Children over 5 are Welcome!
Garden Club at the 
Whitney Recreation Center

Click Photo for Directions
  Always an adventure in learning! 

Garden Club Checklist ~ Please Bring:

Metal tongs
Nitrile Gloves

 And Wear Clothes you can get Dirty!


Guest Post by Rhonda Killough, Founder of
Layout & Edit by Kathleen Ackroyd of 'That Dam Kat' 

Need more information? Contact Rhonda Killough via email: or Visit the Event on Facebook 

Can't make it?  
LIVE from the 
Whitney Recreation Center

"We cultivate Hope for the Future."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Love Your Library? Tell a Friend!" LVCCLD teams up with CSI: The Experience

September is Library Card 
Sign Up Month!

Earn a Family Pack of Tickets to CSI: The Experience!
 Visit for Details
Sign up for your free Las Vegas Clark County Library District Card at the following locations:

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