March 31, 2017 —
My online learning experience came about as a result of my wanting to get my Masters degree. Because I worked full-time, taught online, and had a daughter with health issues, I needed to find a way to do it from home, on my schedule, using my limited, small blocks of time for getting my coursework completed. I signed up to get my Masters degree through Capella University, a University that is entirely online.
After almost 30 years out of the classroom as a student, it took me a little bit of time to get back into the swing of being a student again. It took time for me to adjust to the online learning environment, navigating the system, and making sure that I kept up to date with my assignments. Once I got going, there was no stopping me! I loved every second of the individualized, online learning experience. My instructors required me to do all of my assignments and projects so that I could immediately make use of my learning in my own classroom. Although I was a part of a group where we could interact with each other regularly, my assignments were individualized to my needs. My goal was to have my Masters degree by the time I turned 50. I realized that goal!
I took a mental note of what made my experience as an online learner more positive. The flexibility was certainly a big part of that. But what I remember most is the instructors who personalized their teaching and learning for me. Those instructors who made an effort to get to know me were the ones who made the biggest impact on me. It wasn’t just about the course content, it was about getting to know each other. Those connections have stayed with me to this day, both in a face-to-face classroom and in the online environment – building relationships is number one.
I learned and believe to this day that the technology is an important resource. The relationships are essential!