Welcome Letter




You are special. No other person is quite like you. Your interpretation of all that enters the reach of your senses is unique to you. And in the distant future, when you are no more, no other person will exactly replicate you.

I have no way of knowing why you are considering enrolling in an online course from NDCDE. I can tell you what attracted me to online courses.

My reasons are summed up in the first four lines of this message. An online course allows me embrace learning on my own terms. Lessons aren’t constantly subject to the filtering of a teacher. My responses are not always subject to the judgment and comments of my peers. My quest for knowledge, as it has always been, is a private matter. Of course, there are those things that are necessarily group-based that are associated with learning, especially the learning of some skills.

But, regardless of the means, or the need for a predictable end, learning, the changing of one’s mind, is a personal, private journey.

The poet T.S. Eliot summed up in a few lines the private nature of learning; in particular, the personal object of the quest that is learning.

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

'Know the place for the first time,' Eliot is reminding us the mere act of seeking, of wanting, of exploring, alters our perception of even the most common places and things. Looking into a microscope to view life unseen by the human eye changes the way we understand our immediate environment. What was once thought to be a static and uninteresting pool of water is now known to be teeming with life and activity. What was once observed as the random flight of bees that sometimes leads to their smashing into our windshields, is now known to be an orchestrated and coordinated communal effort of a specialized legion that is part of a highly organized beehive. What was once viewed and condemned as the self-imposed failure of character, is now understood to be an imbalance of chemicals in our brains; an imbalance that can be brought back into balance.

You are unique. And all that surrounds you is unique. But you must see the uniqueness for yourself. Online learning can help you do that. Minus the typical classroom distractions, through online learning you are helped to 'know places for the first time.' Life, your life, is never dull when you are continually learning.

Know places for the first time. Enroll in a course at NDCDE.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Alan J. Peterson
State Director
ND Center for Distance Education

Dr. Alan J. Peterson

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