Course Objectives are a standard item in any course syllabus, but not a section that often is closely read by students. Frequently, for students, the most riveting parts of the syllabus are the assignments, course requirements, and grading sections. Although I can understand why the course objectives section of a syllabus is overlooked (often it is rather dry and deemed irrelevant by students to course survival), how will the students know where they are going, or if they arrived, unless they know the exact location of their post knowledge gaining/course arrival point?
Objectives lead to outcomes, which lead to the completion of an overall plan where more than new knowledge or a degree are obtained, but where lives are forever altered by new goals, opportunities, ideas, creativity, and the like. Course objectives are the where and why in traveling to where students are headed. Oh how I wish life had course objectives at times, then I would know when I have arrived and could get off of one train and board the next.
For me, the last 5 years have been consumed with one outcome, my station of destiny if you will. My family, friends, faculty, colleagues, co-workers, students, and even my patients have been a part of my travels toward this goal. (Often, they carry me forward in my journey without even realizing that they are the vehicle helping me move ever closer to the spot on the map that I am determined to get to. For this I am truly grateful). The journey, as the cliche goes, is more important than the specific arrival point, but without the planned destination one would not know in which direction to head to reach the goal. For me, this goal has been obtaining my PhD in nursing science and I have almost arrived (if you would like to know the days/hours/minutes/seconds to the end send me an e-mail because I have them counted down).
Moving toward this goal has been my main objective and has left me with a determined tunnel vision and unable to plan much beyond arriving at station PhD. I naively believed that upon arrival I would not do anything else but rest, apply the knowledge I had learned to my current position, read a number of ‘mind candy’ novels, and sleep in on Saturdays.
However, now that this stop is growing closer I am surprised to find that I need to ride the train a while longer, or disembark and hitch a ride on another one. The very nature of doctoral nursing education demands more of those who have obtained it. Such an education is a privilege and in itself requires the nurse to set new goals, ponder possibilities and new places to travel, and to consider the objectives of travel. (Can you hear my Id and Super Ego fighting it out… i.e. the angel and devil on my shoulders… “Pajamas and made for T.V. movies!!!!… no, no, no… Where in the world could you start a nursing school for women who would not otherwise get an education and to where people have no access to health care?…”)
I have a few collaborative ideas that will demand more informal learning (if any of you want to work jointly on some projects… hint, hint), but I also have not arrived at ‘mid life’ and have decided that one of the best things I could do is survey where I am on all life fronts and build some ideas for where I would like to be when the train finally stops for good. I have started Michael Hyatt’s free Life Plan e-book.
Perhaps, if I set my own course objectives in life, the rest will fall into place… I will keep you posted.
And so, the train rumbles on, not through the night as in an Agatha Christie novel, but instead through all sorts of landscapes, experiences, possibilities, and ideas.