In a few weeks I hope to be back counseling part-time for a small rural health clinic operated by my diocese’s Catholic Charities. The prospect of returning to the field has added some fire to my efforts to complete my own Continuing Education credits for the State of Florida to keep my own medical license current. Now as it is about 75% cheaper to take the courses on-line, I have been doing that since returning from vacation, sitting down every mid-afternoon with the required texts and answering the questions for course completion.
Given that all of the mental health codes were changed the day I closed my practice (good timing or what) I need to at least have a passing knowledge of the new numeral-alphabetic diagnostic coding as I return to fill out charts again. So I registered for a coding course that, not surprisingly, came with a textbook—or more accurately, I had to buy the book separately from Amazon. So I started this week when the book arrived, and I noticed that some of the sentences had no verbs. This is always troubling. Then, when I went to answer the questions from the first chapter, I discovered that two of the multiple choice questions contained no correct answers, which was equally troubling.
So I checked the Amazon reviewers’ section of the book’s website, and I read a complaint from another reader whose book had no index of contents. The author wrote on-line to tell her that future copies of the book would have indexes, and that he was sending her one to replace her first purchase. My book does have an index of contents, but it became fairly clear to me that the book itself, and the test provided by the author presumably, were “rush jobs,” hurried to print without vetting. There are plenty of people to blame, actually—the author, the publisher, and the continuing ed company that sold me the course in the first place.
But the person who is most responsible for this predicament is me. I did not take time to assess the educational company before entering a year’s contract with it. My primary interest was economy, and my common sense should have warned me that a $60 annual fee for unlimited courses was not buying my way into Harvard Medical School.
So…I should have followed the frequent advice offered here on Wednesdays. In the world of Catholic education—particularly on-line but not limited to it—there is a lot of junk, too. Sorting out the wheat from the chaff is time consuming and difficult. Hopefully you have people in your chancery who undertake such work, but even the USCCB cannot keep up with the barrage of homespun, inept, or ideologically skewed educational courses put forward for laymen and catechists. Your time, like mine, is precious. An ounce of prevention (and a few more dollars) are worth a pound of retooling.
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