looking back

  when I first began study there, massey university was the only tertiary institution in new zealand that offered extramural study. this sounded like a great idea, since I wouldn't actually have to move to a university town in order to take university courses.

  looking back on it now, I'm surprised that it ever worked out. by comparison, internal (on-campus) students are pampered within an inch of your life. lectures? tutorials? access to teaching staff? the chance to discuss concepts with other students? extramural students should be so lucky! we got a textbook or two, study guides that told us which chapters to read, and a set of assignments to complete. not exactly student-friendly.

  fortunately, I was taking mostly computer science and mathematics - but my grades in the more subjective classes suffered. this isn't necessarily a bad thing in some cases; I'm perversely proud of my E in 59.391: special topic in managing information systems. disaster narrowly averted! sometimes I wonder just how things could have turned out. massey have a marvellous mba (master of business administration) program, or so I hear. ::shudder::

  alas, I don't currently have any records of my work from massey. I'm sure it wasn't terribly interesting, although the punch-card assignment sheets might worth a chuckle or two.

looking ahead

  to be fair to massey, they were groundbreakers in a very difficult field of education, and they did very well. I hear that with the growth of the internet their extramural program has taken off in recent years. email, web forums and chatrooms have made the system much easier on the students. I only got to play with the first beginnings of this trend; the muxmail system let us send email back and forth over nz telecom's packet-switching network via a 900-baud modem. who would have thought that five years later, we'd be looking at this web page?

  at any rate, in 1993 I graduated with a bachelor's degree (double major, mathematics and computer science) and went on to complete a postgraduate diploma in mathematics in 1994, focusing on differential equations and topological geometry. at this point I had to choose between trying to find an original contribution in a field that was six thousand years old, and getting in on the ground floor of a burgeoning new computer industry. so in 1995, I moved to dunedin and started postgraduate study in computer graphics at the university of otago. [...]

updated 10.24.12
© chris butcher 2000-2003