ICS correspondence course

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Mac Juli, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Well-Known Member

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  2. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    Very cool. Thanks for posting.
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    The old days - some things were better, others worse. I'm a sucker for old-school mail-order courses - I even like the new ones that have CDs DVDs etc. Finished one last year.
    Not EVERYTHING was good about them though, back in the day. I can remember in the 60s and 70s - if you sent for details, the next thing you knew, a salesman was at your door. Nowadays, you ask a few questions and they pester you on the Internet. Much easier to turn off.

    A lot of those courses were very good - and thorough. And respected by employers. Lots of grads got jobs - or better jobs/promotions - and that's a 'way tougher result to produce, now.
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  4. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    Very true. The vetting process has gotten out of hand. I understand why some employers make prospective employees jump through multiple hoops and do extensive background checks. But when a teen tries to get their first job at a fast food joint, and they're told to fill out an app online, and maybe someone in management will get back to them? That's when the pre-internet days look better.

    Also, I've taken my share of correspondence courses back in the day. Some with ICS (aka Harcourt Learning, Education Direct etc.) and others. I took one from another course provider around the time I was a sophomore at the local commuter college. It was about investigating auto accidents/personal injury and was very thorough. It contained an extensive checklist that I still refer to presently. The school never claimed that it would turn you into an accident reconstructionist, but as someone that deals with attorneys and accident reconstructionist personnel now, I can give them a concise report that in no small part, that long ago course still has a role in. Of course it's not all I use to draw my conclusions but for fun picture me in a courtroom explaining what type of pedagogy was used in my statement, and I receive a blank look from the plaintiff's attorney not knowing how to follow up on the question lol. Oh, and imagine this, I really had to work hard to pass that course too.
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  5. RoscoeB

    RoscoeB Senior Member

    Thanks, Mac Juli.

    I'm happy to say one of my books was used in the ICS art course. Attached is old clip from The Gettysburg Times.


    Attached Files:

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  6. msganti

    msganti Active Member

    I thought ICS (International Correspondence Schools) became Pennfoster...
  7. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Well-Known Member

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  8. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

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  9. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Forty years ago there were several correspondence schools including LaSalle who offered a California law degree and another school whose name I cannot remember that offered a course in nuclear power operations. The labs for that one must have been interesting.
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  10. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    I took ICS diploma in Electronics Engineering. 100% correspondence from the UK.
    My technical English improved tremendously at the time.
    It was the first introduction to the DL.
    I was already a traditional university graduate when I took this course and others. Followed by curses from Cleveland Institute of Electronics and the open university.
    I remember my first Microprossesor lab it was Intel 8080.
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  11. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

  12. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Tequila - "to kill ya!" Good one, Lerner! That's my kind of funny! :)
  14. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Well-Known Member

    Yeah, curses from the instructor while doing electronics... Remembers me fondly of the mandatory practical training I had in Physics. This high quality needle galvanometer was built in the 1910s, it survived the Weimar Republic, the nazis, the bombing of Hamburg, dozens of years of usage. But it did not survive me. But hey, the instructor hated me anyway!!
  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yes - that was The Atomic Energy Institute, of Signal Mountain TN. One of their 1957 ads here: https://books.google.ca/books?id=Ei0DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=old-fashioned+correspondence+course+in+nuclear+power+operation&source=bl&ots=5eaKb69UZ3&sig=ACfU3U2rjm9lE4Guoay4HYfP_Ngg3bg-KQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjUl7bCqYfsAhUQmeAKHfEdDjYQ6AEwEnoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=old-fashioned correspondence course in nuclear power operation&f=false

    I think they held the labs at their NY campus - Three Mile Island, IIRC... :)
  16. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Must have been a really good school. The students all gave glowing reports. :)
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  17. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

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  18. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Indeed, like the picture of the drafting tools ICS provided for home study.

    The university of the night:

    Here is a link to a handbook from ICS dated 1903:


    http://www.icsarchive.org/hb/ICS HB, Mechanics Pocket Memoranda 1903.pdf
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  19. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The most interesting thing about that last one is that in 1903 going from being a dentist to being a draftsman was a significant career advancement.
  20. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    And here, an illustration of how nostalgia often reflects emotion rather than how things were "back in the day."

    My first job was at McDonalds. And this was well before online applications became a norm (my first two jobs out of the Navy were obtained through printed resumes sent via snail mail, and that was to a recruiting firm!). You walked in and asked for an application. Someone handed you a mini-application that was printed on a small sheet of paper (as opposed to 8 1/2 x 11). You filled it out and handed it to whomever was there. Then you went home and hoped for a call. Put another way, you applied and maybe someone in management would get back to you.

    While the internet has made some applications a bit more annoying, such as professional positions that require an actual application rather than just a resume, but overall the biggest change to fast food jobs is that your resume goes into a queue where it is less likely to be lost than the literal shoebox that applications got tossed into on the manager's desk.

    One thing that I think is truly unfortunate is that our society has arrived at a place where knowledge for knowledge's sake is basically ignored. MOOCs are neat. I've taken a few. But it didn't take long for those to get to a point where you had to earn a piece of paper so you could "show" people you now know a thing. On the one hand, it makes hiring a bit easier. If I see you have a certificate in accident reconstruction then that communicates some prior training much more effectively than you telling me in a cover letter you once studied it. The problem, of course, is how heavily we rely on resumes and cover letters to communicate information.

    I, as an HR professional, have told other HR professionals when I was interviewing for jobs that the resume is not intended to be a transcript of my entire life when they inevitably ask why something I mention isn't listed there. The resume is a professional snapshot of, typically, your entire career or 7 years of your professional life (whichever is longer). And it certainly captures my professional achievements but not any of my personal achievements that an employer might well find relevant.

    It's a shame because I think the process has become so much less personal. HR can't ask you about your personal life and few people want to share it and so much useful information gets lost in translation. I once had an applicant (she ended up being hired but has since moved on) for an admin position who nearly didn't get an interview at all. Her resume barely took up 3/4 of a page. Meanwhile, it turned out, she had been a secretary for her religious group but didn't want to mention it because she didn't want to advertise her religion. Meanwhile, the incredibly relevant experience she had was not adequately communicated to potential employers.

    The internet is fine. It really does make it more organized. But interviews were becoming highly impersonal at the same time. I don't think one caused the other.

    *To be clear, I'm not saying employers should be digging into religious preferences and marital status as they once did. There is a reason that became illegal. My point though is that the law says I can't ask and you shouldn't feel compelled to tell me any of that. If you do, that's up to you, but I also can't use certain pieces of that information to inform a decision. I can't hire you/not hire you because you're Hindu. But I can hire you/not hire you based on your work experience at a Hindu Temple even if it was volunteer. That hasn't stopped some of my colleagues (not at my present employer but elsewhere) from basically ending interviews the moment someone mentions their children because they "aren't supposed to hear that." Interviews work best when they are conversational and less like a test. If you mention your kids, I might mention mine. I won't ask you anything about them. I won't dig into your personal life and I won't overshare my own. There's a difference between professional distance and pretending as if a person does not exist outside of their professional life.
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